Premier League clubs agree to screen yet more live matches
Traditional 3pm kick offs in danger with Saturday nights and other new times imminent
More Premier League games will now be screened live on television. Photo: Adam Fradgley - AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images
Premier League chairmen have voted unanimously in favour of a broadcast tender under which between 190 and 210 games will be shown live on British television each season from 2019-20.
The tender will go out to broadcasters before Christmas and will almost certainly make the world’s richest league even wealthier with a significant increase in the 168 games now aired live each season.
The Premier League had already guaranteed to Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, it would make at least 190 games available in the next three-year deal, which runs from 2019 to 2022. It did not reveal whether chairmen had voted to support a configuration of packages that will see 190, 200, or 210 top-flight games screened live.
The increase in live television matches will almost certainly be accommodated by a prime-time Saturday night match alongside additional midweek and bank holiday games. The number of live Premier League games has rocketed from 60 each season between 1992 and 2001. The Football Supporters’ Federation has voiced its concern about the effect the increase will have on the atmosphere inside stadiums and has pushed for Saturday 3pm kick-offs to be protected.
Thursday’s meeting in London was the first time all 20 clubs had been represented in the same room since the “big six” – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United – were thwarted in their bid to secure a bigger share of overseas television rights. The mood was said to be buoyant with an optimism the new domestic rights deal will mean an increase in the £5.14bn paid by Sky Sports and BT Sport two years ago for the 2016-19 rights. – Guardian service