In a groundbreaking move for English football, the EFL have announced that it’s clubs will be able to live-stream all of their midweek games to the UK and Ireland if they are not being shown on Sky Sports.
The news comes as part of confirmation of a new £600 million TV deal that has been negotiated with the broadcaster to run from 2019 to 2024. This represents a 36% increase in the value of the rights from the current agreement. The key details are as follows:
Sky Sports in each season from 2019/20 will broadcast:
A maximum of 150 exclusive Sky Bet EFL League matches, which include:
16 Sky Bet Championship games on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings
A minimum of 20 Sky Bet League One and League Two matches
The 15 Sky Bet EFL Play-Off matches including all three Finals
15 matches from the Carabao Cup including the Final
The Semi-Final and Final of the Checkatrade Trophy
But of course what has caught the eye the most is the the statement that teams will be able to show “any league match via their respective iFollow (or equivalent) service that takes place outside the blocked hours of 14.45-17.15 on Saturday afternoons and that is not broadcast live on Sky Sports”.
This means that games ‘under the lights’ in midweek will be able to be live-streamed online in this country for the first time, following the success of the iFollow service for overseas fans so far this season. In addition, Sky Sports will be able to broadcast every midweek match through it’s interactive service, meaning viewers will be able to pick which game to watch - much like the channel already do with European Qualifiers at international level and BT Sport do with Champions League and Europa league fixtures.
The impact of the new deal will also be felt this season, with Sky allowed to screen some Tuesday and Wednesday and games immediately, something with has been a rarity in the past.
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said:
“These negotiations came at what was an incredibly challenging period in the sale and acquisition of sports rights in the UK and, having fully tested the market, we believe that not only has a significant increase in value for our Clubs been achieved, but also the very best deal, with the best partner has been delivered.
“In agreeing a deal over five seasons, it delivers a guaranteed increase in the level of income distributed to EFL Clubs from 2019/20 and long-term financial certainty was an absolute priority throughout this process. It is a partnership that as well as having mutual tangible benefits, allows the EFL to maximise reach and exposure for its competitions, alongside providing further opportunities for Clubs to generate additional incremental revenues through iFollow.
“The new opportunity for EFL Clubs to live-stream their matches through a direct to consumer service in the UK is a revolutionary and exciting step forward for football broadcasting rights in the UK and we will monitor its progress closely to determine how this model can be considered for future EFL rights cycles.”
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