The EFL has successfully concluded negotiations with Sky Sports for live domestic broadcasting rights in a deal that will run for a further five seasons from 2019/20.
The new agreement, worth £600m, represents a 36% year-on-year increase on the current arrangement and will continue to see Sky Sports exclusively broadcast the Sky Bet EFL, Carabao Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and Sky Bet Play-Offs live through until May 2024.
This arrangement has been finalised following an open tender process that was designed to maximise both the financial return and exposure for all 72 member Clubs, the EFL and its competitions.
Under the new agreement, Sky Sports in each season from 2019/20 will broadcast:
· A maximum of 150 exclusive Sky Bet EFL League matches, which include:
· 16 Sky Bet Championship games on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings;
· A minimum of 20 Sky Bet League One and League Two matches;
· The 15 Sky Bet EFL Play-Off matches including all three Finals;
· 15 matches from the Carabao Cup including the Final;
· The Semi-Final and Final of the Checkatrade Trophy.
In addition, and in what is another first for English football, the EFL will 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.
Games in the Checkatrade Trophy 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.
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “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.”
Sky Sports Managing Director, Barney Francis commented: “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.”