SKY SPORTS has sealed a massive new exclusive TV deal with the EFL which will see an extraordinary 1,059 matches screened live each season – either on the main Sky channels or streamed.
Five games from the Championship and a further five from Leagues One and Two will be screened live every weekend – and EVERY single Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy match will be available for the first time.
Although the 3pm blackout on Saturdays will continue for games not selected, a number of matches will be shown on a new Sky streaming service available via TVs and mobile devices. Unlike the current red button service they will no longer have just one camera angle.
Under the five-year deal, clubs will no longer offer TV streams through iFollow with Sky now taking over all domestic TV streaming.
Due to the high number of live games being screened, Sky and the EFL have pledged to give a longer notice period to fans when fixtures are moved for live TV screening. They insist that all games moved for TV selections up to the FA Cup third round weekend, will be announced and confirmed before the start of the season. There will then be a defined period for TV picks for the rest of the season.
They’ve also promised there will be a fairer share of games for each club shown live with Championship sides likely to be shown live around 23 times a season and League One/Two clubs around 16 times per season.
Sky and the EFL say the deal is worth a record-breaking £935million and will run from 2024/25 to 2028/29.
It’s the most games ever shown in UK TV history. The EFL confirmed they received “multiple bids from various parties that proposed a variety of different broadcast options, but that the Sky proposals offered the best deal on a number of criteria.
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SKY SPORTS MASSIVE NEW TV DEAL – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT WILL BE SHOWN?
1,059 EFL matches EVERY season shown LIVE across main Sky Sports channels or via a Sky streaming service on TV and mobile devices.
This breaks down as a minimum each season of
328 Championship matches
248 League One matches
248 League Two matches
ALL 15 play-off games
ALL 93 Carabao Cup games
ALL 127 EFL Trophy games
EACH WEEKEND 10 LIVE EFL fixtures will be shown, five from the Championship, five from Leagues One and Two
EVERY opening day match will be shown.
EVERY final day game will be shown.
EVERY midweek game will be shown.
EVERY bank holiday game will be shown (including Easter, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day.
EVERY League One & League Two game will be shown during international breaks.
Those matches not selected for broadcast which kick-off in the Saturday 3pm slot will not be shown. Broadcast games will be shown out of this time with the final kick-off times and days to be confirmed at a later date.
The EFL says there will be seven 3pm Championship games each regular Saturday and 19 League One/Two games combined at 3pm on Saturdays.
Those matches not on the main Sky channels, but made selected to stream will be available via Sky rather than iFollow through a new service available on TV and mobile devices which replaces the current Sky red button and EFL iFollow service,
iFollow will still provide audio commentary and streaming to international viewers.
Sky and the EFL have committed to providing greater coverage in terms of the number of cameras at games, particularly those being streamed.
Games shown live on the main Sky channels will have a minimum of eight cameras.
Games being streamed rather than on the main Sky channels will have a minimum of four cameras for Championship and League One games and two cameras for League Two matches.
The new arrangements will not come into force until the season after next running from 2024-25 through to 2028/29.
SKY Sports looks set to win the race to continue to show live games across the Championship, EFL and Carabao Cup after it was named the “preferred bidder” for the UK rights.
Sky’s current deal is due to expire at the end of next season with the EFL inviting bids from broadcasters from the 2024-25 season.
The league had even suggested it could make every single game available for streaming across all three divisions and the Carabao Cup which would need an end to the UK 3pm Saturday ‘blackout’ rules on screening live football.
DAZN, Viaplay and BT Sport were all reportedly in the running for the rights with the possibility of free-to-air matches on either BBC, ITV or Channel 4 also floated.
But the EFL has now confirmed that it will enter into an exclusive month-long negotiating period with Sky Sports, leaving the long-time broadcast partner of the league in pole position to retain the rights.
What’s not clear is how many games will be shown, although it seems likely more matches than ever before will be screeened live.
Sky’s current five-year deal allows them to show 138 matches with full coverage and limited single-camera red button coverage of midweek Championship rounds.
Fans had been split on whether all matches should be available to stream with some excited about the prospect of always being able to see their team’s games on TV or online, but others fearing blanket availability could hit both EFL and non-league attendances.
DAZN had been reportedly keen on the streaming option of showing all 3pm Saturday games, but some broadcasting sources had raised doubts about the logistics and capabilities of covering and showing so many games all at the same time.
One option thought to being considered was for a number of broadcasters to split the rights with one streaming the 3pm kick-offs and other selecting key games to be shown in other time slots as Sky currently do.
But with Sky now named by the EFL as the preferred bidder it looks like the new deal will be exclusive to them. It would be a huge surprise if Sky don’t now go on to land the rights, but the big question is just how many matches will be shown.
The EFL said it had completed a “full and comprehensive” review of all the bids received for the rights before opting to enter into talks with Sky. It has declined to comment further.