- All 92 remaining Premier League games set for UK broadcast
- Sky to broadcast lion’s share, including 25 FTA matches
- BBC to show live top-flight football for the first time in almost 30 years
Premier League football is set to return next month in a boost for UK broadcasters in a plan announced yesterday.
The BBC is set to show live Premier League matches for the first time in its history as top-flight English football returns.
The BBC, along with rights holders Sky, BT Sport and Amazon Prime, will begin airing games when the 2019/20 Premier League tournament restarts on 17 June after it was postponed for months due to the coronavirus lockdown.
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All 92 remaining Premier League fixtures will be broadcast live, though they will be played behind closed doors, according to the Premier League.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.
“Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.”
The BBC will air four games – the first time it has broadcast top-flight football since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. It will also continue to show highlights on Match of the Day.
“This opportunity creates an historic moment for the BBC and our audiences,” director of BBC Sport, Barbara Slater said. “At a time when sports fans across the country are in need of a lift, this is very welcome news.”
Sky Sports will broadcast 64 of the remaining games and has said it will make 25 of these top-flight matches free to air, including the Merseyside Derby on the first weekend of the 19-21 June, while the remaining 39 will be available for Sky Sports subscribers.
Sky Sports also said it will also launch a “host of innovative new features and updates” which aim to give fans an “even more immersive experience”, although the broadcaster did not disclose further details.
Sky CEO and EVP, UK and Europe, Stephen van Rooyen said: “The return of live sport is a big moment for the country, and we want the nation to join us. Sky has partnered with the Premier League and its clubs for nearly thirty years, and the strength of our partnership has never been more important. Our commitment to showing 25 matches ‘free to air’ for the first time in the history of Sky Sports recognises the unique times we are in, and our desire to play our part.”
BT Sport has also seen an increase in its remaining allocation of games, from eight to 20, though it has yet to announce its plans for broadcasting these fixtures.
One hurdle that was identified prior to the announcement was a potential rebate owed to Sky and BT, estimated at around £330 million, according to The Guardian. The rebate was due to the season being disrupted, a fact that has led both broadcasters to offer refunds to their pay TV subscribers.
The report claims Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to repay the requested sum in full, spread over two years.