FA Cup ties will continue to be broadcast by the BBC and BT Sport until at least 2021 in a new deal which will also see both dedicate more coverage to women’s football.
In a joint agreement with the Football Association, both broadcasters will carry on covering the most famous cup club competition in world football into the next decade.
The three-year extension to the existing £200m-plus deal, which was struck in 2013 and brought the world’s oldest knockout cup competition back to the BBC after seven years of coverage on ITV, is seen as crucial for the increasingly cash-strapped corporation.
Gary Lineker will continue to lead BBC Sport’s presentation duties with the corporation promising that its coverage will remain true to the history and heritage of the FA Cup, while delivering technological innovation that brings audiences closer to the action, with multi-platform coverage across TV, radio and online.
It is believed that the BBC has retained its rights to first pick matches from every round of the competition, with two matches per round from the Third Round to the Sixth Round, as well as one Semi-Final and the Final live on BBC One.
BT Sport will broadcast more FA Cup matches than ever from 2018/19, when it will show an extra live match in rounds one to five of the competition, covering up to 30 matches exclusively live each year.
From next season, fans will be able to enjoy enhanced FA Cup coverage in Ultra HD and on the BT Sport app, with its market-leading functionality that has been one of the hallmarks of its exclusive UEFA Champions League coverage this season.
BT Sport will also continue as the home of FA Development football, covering England U17, U19 and U21 matches exclusively live.
The new deal will also see an enhanced commitment to women’s football from both the BBC and BT.
The BBC will offer live coverage of international qualifiers, the Women’s FA Cup final, plus one England Women’s friendly match per season alongside additional live matches and The FA Women’s Super League highlights.
BT Sport will remain the exclusively live broadcaster of The FA Women’s Super League and, from 2018, will show both Women’s FA Cup semi-finals exclusively live, the Women’s FA Cup Final (shared with the BBC) and England Senior Women’s home friendlies.
Furthermore, the BBC will work closely with key BBC brands to increase the profile and reach of the FA People’s Cup in order to drive participation, and BT will invest in grass-roots women’s football, in partnership with the FA.
The FA Cup forms part of an impressive football rights portfolio on BBC TV, which includes the nation’s favourite football programme, Match Of The Day, extensive coverage of UEFA Euro 2016, as well as the Euros in 2020 and the World Cup until 2022.
Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, says: “We are delighted to retain the rights to broadcast the most famous domestic cup competition in the world on free-to-air TV.
“The renewed deal will bring audiences closer to the action than ever before via an innovative digital offering across all platforms, and showcase our commitment to the women’s game.
“FA Cup coverage on the BBC will continue to unite the nation through must see sporting moments, captivating audiences of all ages.”
Delia Bushell, managing director of BT TV and BT Sport, says: “The FA Cup is a fantastic competition which is loved the world over, and we are delighted to be extending our partnership with the FA.
“We will continue to support the FA with more live matches and ground-breaking Ultra HD and digital coverage.
“BT Sport audiences are up nearly 50 per cent this season, which demonstrates how popular our coverage has become with sports fans.
“We’re proud to be the only place to follow all the best football competitions: The FA Cup, Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.”
Martin Glenn, FA Chief Executive, says: “The Emirates FA Cup has enjoyed record viewing figures, with 7 million alone watching Tottenham’s Third Round tie against Leicester City, outstripping all viewing figures for club matches in England this season, both domestically and in Europe.
“It is a competition loved not only in this country but throughout the world, as demand for broadcast rights globally highlight.
“The competition is all about the success of the underdog, and this season has seen some more fantastic stories.
“The money clubs win can make a hugely positive impact both on and off the pitch and we’re very proud to have distributed £25m to clubs via the prize fund and broadcast fees this season.
“We are excited to continue this association, and look forward to sharing new ideas and breaking new ground in the coming years in the world’s oldest and most loved domestic cup competition.”