BBC & BT Sport to share live FA Cup rights

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The BBC and BT Sport have secured a four year shared rights deal that will see both broadcasters become home to The FA Cup from 2014/15 season onwards.

The pair outbid a competing joint offer from Sky and ITV, with BT reportedly paying in the region of £25m per year for up to 25 FA Cup games a season.

Exact details on which live match picks that both broadcasters have for each round of the tournament is expected to be confirmed in due course.

The BBC is thought to have obtained fewer live games than BT, but has secured more top pick matches. Reports suggest that the corporation has paid in the region of £100m to £120m for their four-year package.

BBC and BT Sport will also share highlights rights during each round of the competition, while BT will exclusively broadcast the season-opening FA Community Shield as well as the FA Trophy.

The world’s oldest club competition will return to the BBC for the first time since 2008 when Harry Redknapp led Portsmouth to a 1-0 victory over Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium.

Led by presenter Gary Lineker, the BBC’s programming will bring together the tradition and heritage of the tournament along with new technological innovations.

All of the action will be available on TV, online, mobile and tablet with live streaming across all devices allowing audiences to capture every moment of the journey.

Combined with a raft of support programming and a top name presentation team, The FA Cup will become an integral part of the BBC One schedule.

The FA Cup will be a great addition to the BBC’s strong TV football portfolio, centered on the nation’s favourite football programme, Match of the Day, showcasing the best of the Barclays Premier League every week, as well as the Football League Show, with action from every game in the Football League, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In addition BBC Radio 5 live will this season broadcast live football commentary of 128 Premier League games; The FA Cup; the League Cup; Champions League and Europa League. 

BT Sport will launch their brand new sports channels on August 1, 2013, with free subscription to all BT broadband users.

Jake Humphrey will lead BT Sport’s coverage from the company’s ground breaking new studios in the Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford.

Up to 25 exclusively live FA Cup matches will be shown on BT Sport from 2014, including the final which will be shared with the BBC, plus live coverage of the FA Community Shield and FA Trophy.

BT Sport is already due to show live matches from The FA Cup in the 2013-14 season via ESPN, along with live Barclays Premier League matches and a range of top class football from top tier leagues across the world.

Current free-to-air FA Cup rights holders ITV will end its six-year association with the FA Cup when it screens the 2014 final next May, but the broadcaster has retained the rights to screen England friendly internationals during the same four-year period.

Commenting on the return of the FA Cup to the corporation, BBC Director-General Tony Hall said, “Bringing the FA Cup back to the BBC was something I really wanted to do and I am so pleased that we have achieved it for football fans everywhere. 

“There is something very special about big national moments on the BBC and the FA Cup should absolutely be one of them.

“The Olympics, Wimbledon and Glastonbury have shown how our audiences love it when we put the full weight of all our services on TV, radio and digital behind covering these events in depth and in ways no one else can. 

“Working closely with the FA I believe we will change the way we view the FA Cup forever.”

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: “Delighted to announce that the oldest, most famous and loved domestic cup competition in the world, the FA Cup is back on the BBC.”

Jake Humphrey commented on his website: “This is my very own Roy Of The Rovers moment. I’ll never have the skills to play in an FA Cup final so to have the chance to present the final for the next few years is a dream for me.

“My hero Des Lynam was the ultimate football presenter and I’m delighted to be following in his footsteps by hosting FA Cup football.

“I’m also delighted I’ll be sharing the fun and games with my friends from the BBC.”

Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT Retail: said: “BT Sport made a determined joint bid to retain The FA Cup rights because we believe it is one of the truly great club football competitions.

“We are thrilled to bring our viewers the incredible stories of passion, and victories against all odds, that pepper the history of the competition.

“These include Leeds United being humbled by Second Division Sunderland in the 1973 final, right up to May this year, when unfancied Wigan Athletic defeated Manchester City at Wembley.

“We will be fielding a superb line up of presenting talent to showcase and analyse all of the action.

“And because BT Sport is free with BT broadband on BT TV, online or via satellite we are confident that we can reach a large audience rapidly.”

New FA Chairman, Greg Dyke, said: “I would like to thank everyone who expressed an interest in these FA Cup broadcast rights and congratulate the BBC and BT Sport on their successful tenders.

“Their valuable support underlines what a great competition The FA Cup is and how important it is to the sporting calendar.

“ITV have done a tremendous job in recent years and we look forward to their fantastic continued support of the England team.

“The BBC is obviously an organisation I know very well but I don’t think anyone would dispute that their name goes hand in hand with some of the most famous FA Cup moments of yesteryear.

“We’re delighted that the competition is back on their channels, not just through television but with significant online presence as well.

“BT Sport might be new to television but they’re a major corporation and have been a part of everyday British life for a number of decades.

“They have millions of customers and are shaping up to be a heavyweight player in the broadcasting world so The FA Cup is a fantastic asset for their growing portfolio of sports.”

Dyke also confirmed that the FA Cup final will continue to be staged at 5.15pm during the new BBC/BT deal, despite strong opposition to the later kick-off time.

“The final will continue to be held in late afternoon, which is where it’s been moved to,” he added.

“I’m certainly happy with that because if you look at the viewing figures for the past two FA Cup finals they were much bigger than they would have been had the match kicked off at 3pm.

“The world changed and we had to change with it.”

In addition to the FA’s new broadcast deals, News UK have won non-exclusive clip rights to the FA Cup, Community Shield and England matches for use across The Sun and The Times publications.

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