Sky Sports and ITV have been awarded the live rights to broadcast all major UEFA international football matches from 2018 until 2022.
Live coverage of England’s qualifiers for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, as well as warm-up games before both tournaments, will remain on free-to-air television as ITV has retained exclusive live rights to these matches.
But Sky Sports has won the exclusive live rights to show England games in the new UEFA Nations League, which starts from the 2018/19 season, as well as retaining live rights for all international matches involving Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland during the four-year period.
The agreement offers up to 900 international matches on Sky Sports between 2018 and 2022, including exclusive live rights to all Home Nations for the inaugural staging of the UEFA Nations League, marking the return of live England internationals to the pay-TV broadcaster for the first time since 2011.
Designed to add greater significance to international friendlies, the new format will help determine the seedings for the qualifiers for Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022, by splitting teams into four leagues based on UEFA rankings with the highest-ranked teams playing against each other across September, October and November 2018.
The four group winners will enter the knockout final four in June 2019, where semi-finals and final will be played to determine the UEFA Nations League champion, with every game exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: “Showing England in competitive matches exclusively live for the first time in seven years is great news for our viewers with the UEFA Nations League putting the top nations against each other regularly.
“Added to the recent success of Wales and Northern Ireland in reaching major tournaments, there is even more reason to follow the Home Nations on Sky Sports.”
In addition, Sky Sports also retains highlights rights to all England qualifying matches shown on ITV during the 2018–22 cycle, while the free-to-air broadcaster will conversely screen highlights of England’s UEFA Nations League games during the same period.
ITV has retained exclusive live rights to England’s games in the European Qualifiers for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup and will also exclusively show England’s pre-tournament warm-up matches in the event of qualification to each competition.
This deal continues ITV’s long-standing position as the key broadcaster for the national team since 2008, with ITV’s current exclusive rights to show England matches continuing until 2018, when the new contract will begin.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “England on ITV has become a central feature of our sports coverage and we’re delighted to be able to continue to bring to viewers free to air, all the action from the team’s qualifying campaigns through to 2022.”
Sky Sports and ITV will also broadcast their respective matches across their digital and mobile platforms, which will continue to ensure the widest possible coverage for international football in the UK.
“We are obviously thrilled to continue our partnership with ITV for the broadcasting of England national team matches in the European Qualifiers,” said Guy-Laurent Epstein, managing director marketing at UEFA Events SA. “ITV are the number one free-to-air commercial broadcaster in the UK.”
“We are excited to have a premium broadcaster like Sky embracing the new UEFA Nations League and reinforcing its commitment to European national team football.
“Both broadcasters will provide an excellent platform across the UK for UEFA’s national team football matches in the years to come.”
Under the current deal, all of England’s matches are screened on ITV, but friendly matches from 2018 – which will be a part of a new Uefa Nations League – will only be available on Sky Sports.
For further details on how UEFA’s new Nations League will work, watch the video below.