ITV retains England international friendlies


ITV has retained exclusive rights to all England internationals after agreeing a new four-year deal with the Football Association.

Beginning at the start of the 2014-15 season and running through to 2018, the new deal ensures that all England friendlies and qualifiers, both home and away, will all be broadcast on one channel and on free-to-air television.

But after covering the FA Cup for the past six seasons, ITV has lost out on the rights to the famous cup competition to the BBC, with BT Sport also securing live games from 2014-15 onwards.

The new ITV deal with the FA only covers friendly internationals as rights to World Cup and European Championship qualification fixtures are now held by UEFA, instead of the national football associations.

ITV, which has been the main home of live England games since 2008, secured the rights to screen all England qualifying matches from 2014 onwards in a recent four-year deal with UEFA, as well as highlights of other home nations qualifiers.

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport said: “This deal makes ITV the only place to watch England live in the coming years.

By adding exclusive live coverage of England’s friendly games, both home and away, until 2018 to our exclusive rights to show live England’s competitive qualifying tournament matches over the same period, we continue to be the home of live England football.”

ITV’s free-to-air FA Cup rights will pass over to the BBC from the 2014-15 season onwards after the corporation paired up with BT Sport to secure exclusive rights to the competition.

The FA’s flagship competition has been a major beneficiary of the TV sports war between new rivals Sky and BT, as well as the long-standing free-to-air battle between the BBC and ITV.

Both subscription networks registered significant interest in the new FA Cup contract from 2014-15, as did the two main terrestrial channels.

ITV Sport will cover its last FA Cup during the 2013-14 season with its six season association ending with the 2014 final next May.

Despite the loss of FA Cup rights to the BBC, ITV will continue to be the free-to-air home of live mid-week Champions League and Europa League football as well as all England internationals.

Commenting on the new TV deals with the BBC, ITV and BT Sport, 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.

“We are delighted to have all the England games, both qualification and friendly internationals, in one place allowing ITV to follow the team home and away.


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