BT said "we have only used five of our top picks, which means that BT Sport will have another 13 throughout the remainder of the season, so our viewers have many more excellent Premier League games to come."So I'd expect BT to make a push with the Christmas and New Year fixtures, combined with its coverage of the FA Cup. These include the following clashes that will draw bigger audiences:
"In the first 13 Premier League rounds until December, we will show the biggest clubs at least twice including Tottenham taking on serious title contenders in both matches, against Manchester United and Chelsea." BT only has fourth pick of the live matches on 20 rounds of the fixture list but first pick on the other 18, making it the first broadcaster to be able to challenge Sky's claim always to show the biggest clashes.
In all, Sky will show 116 live matches having agreed to pay £2.3bn over three seasons for the privilege. Sky has 12 "first pick" weekends for the remaining 20 rounds of fixtures, while BT will be left with eight. The new entrant also has a further five "first pick" slots in midweek rounds of fixtures, but they must be used before February.
Dec 14 - Man City v Arsenal, Spurs v LiverpoolNot sure Liverpool are going to be a top challenger this season, so take them out of the mix and that's just four top games that BT may go for as a first pick.
Dec 21 - Arsenal v Chelsea
Dec 26 - Man City v Liverpool
Dec 28 - Chelsea v Liverpool
Jan 1 - Man U v Spurs
Jan 18 - Chelsea v Man U
I'm surprised they didn't go at least for the Man U v Chelsea fixture on the second Sunday of the season - that's the first big one of the season and to find it on Sky Sports shows that BT may be more aggressive than ESPN with the mighty Sky Sports, but they're still very much playing second fiddle. Still, at least for Virgin Media customers it means we're not really missing that much if we don't have the channels at the start of the season, and if we are to be charged for them, many (myself included) may not bother to sign up until much later in the season.