Sky Sports agrees new five-year EFL rights deal

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Sky Sports has secured a new deal to continue showing EFL matches until 2024 in a deal that will run for a further five seasons from 2019/20, including live coverage of all midweek Championship matches for the first time.

The new agreement, worth £600m, represents a 36% year-on-year increase on the current contract and will continue to see Sky Sports broadcast 183 matches from the Sky Bet EFL, Carabao Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and Sky Bet Play-Offs exclusively live through until May 2024.

In addition, Sky Sports will be able to broadcast 80 Sky Bet Championship midweek matches across interactive and digital platforms for the first time, taking the total number of potential matches available to Sky Sports customers and EFL fans to over 260, from the current 145 games.

Under the new deal, Sky Sports in each season from 2019/20 will broadcast:

·  A maximum of 150 exclusive Sky Bet EFL League matches
·  16 Sky Bet Championship games on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings
·  A minimum of 20 Sky Bet League One and League Two matches
·  15 Sky Bet EFL Play-Off matches including all three Finals
·  15 matches from the Carabao Cup including the Final
·  Semi-Final and Final of the Checkatrade Trophy

The EFL will also be offering its clubs the opportunity to live-stream in the UK and Ireland 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.

Sky Sports will have the right to stream the same Championship fixtures to subscribers across their interactive and digital services.

Checkatrade Trophy matches will also be available for live-streaming in the UK and Ireland via iFollow or equivalent service.

iFollow was launched earlier this year and gives supporters overseas the ability to watch their team on match days alongside providing thousands of fans based in the UK the opportunity to listen to audio commentary.

Barney Francis, Sky Sports Managing Director, said:

“This is great news for EFL fans and our viewers, with more live games than ever before and more opportunities for fans to watch their teams live. With a new dedicated football channel, newly enhanced digital platforms, adding more games means Sky Sports is getting even better for football fans.

“Securing the EFL strengthens the Sky Sports service even further with the rights that matter most to our customers. This follows similar enhanced deals with Sky Sports becoming the exclusive home of F1 from 2019 for five years, and the only place to see England home cricket and the new domestic T20 competition live through to 2024.

“Viewing of live EFL games grew by 12% year-on-year last season, and is up a further 7% so far this season. Fans value our live EFL coverage and we are delighted to be able to offer even more in the coming years.”

Together with up to 183 live matches on Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports will continue to provide in depth coverage of the EFL across a range of platforms, including the Sky Sports App with enhanced live player, skysports.com and Sky Sports News.

Sky Sports recently launched two new channels dedicated to football – Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Football – which will show over 1,000 live matches every season.

Both channels are part of a new look Sky Sports that also includes dedicated channels for cricket, golf and Formula 1.

Subscribers could be able to reap the rewards of the new scheme very soon with Sky expected to show some midweek Championship games straight away.

However, fans of the Football League will have a tough decision some weeks with certain Championship matches clashing with BT Sport’s coverage of the Champions League. There are eight full midweek rounds of second-tier matches over the campaign.

Commenting on Sky’s new £600m TV deal, EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey added:

“Sky Sports has for many years been a hugely important and valued partner of the EFL and we are delighted to extend our relationship by a further five years. I would like to thank all those who submitted bids and we now look forward to working with the Sky Sports team as they cement their position as the broadcast home of live EFL matches.

“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.”

An announcement on free-to-air EFL rights from 2018/19 season onwards, which are currently held by Channel 5, is expected in due course.

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