It might be one of the most interesting eras of English Premier League football but the chances of New Zealand fans seeing the action on their TV screens next season appears slim.

Internet sports streamer Coliseum Sports have held the rights over the last three seasons, but have announced they will not be screening games next season.

It seemed to open the way for Sky TV to pick up the rights in this country but spokeswoman Kirsty Way said the price being asked to broadcast games here makes that highly unlikely.

Doha-based Bein Sports (a subsidiary of Al Jazeera) won the rights late last year, outbidding both Sky and Coliseum, and then tried to on-sell the rights in New Zealand.


Bein Sports' main focus was reportedly setting up an Asia-Pacific Premier League hub, with New Zealand just a small link in the coverage to the region, but Bein failed to secure some big markets, including Australia (Optus).

"We have been in talks with them and are happy to continue talking but where we have got to, it's not looking good," Way said. "The numbers being asked are astronomical and are remarkably higher than what Coliseum paid for them three years ago.

Coliseum have said they are not in the running and I can't see how anyone else [in New Zealand] could do it and come close to breaking even unless they have another reason for doing it.

"We have tried to be creative [to strike a deal] but we are not even close. At Sky, we are EPL fans so there's no lack of willingness [to try to get the rights] but there has to be a sense of reality about negotiations."

Way said they were worried about the effect the continued absence of the Premier League from their channels would have on subscribers.

They have come under pressure from increased competition from the likes of Netflix and Spark's Lightbox and last week told investors the company expect to lose 45,000 customers in the year to the end of June which saw their share price dip 13 per cent that day. Sky expect to have about 830,000 subscribers by the of June.

"Even if our numbers were up, we would be worried," Way said. "The numbers watching the Premier League aren't huge but that doesn't matter. It's a good bit of content and the fans here are passionate."

It could see the proliferation of illegal streaming, which is often an unsatisfying experience for viewers.