A minimum of 190 Premier League games will be televised live in Britain from the start of the 2019-20 season.
A new package of Saturday night games is likely to be offered to broadcasters, along with more midweek and Bank Holiday matches. There will be a minimum of 22 additional live games on offer. Premier League chairman has voted unanimously for the package, with the rights set to go out to auction before Christmas, BCC has reported.
Fans’ group the Football Supporters’ Federation has said it was “firmly opposed” to any increase beyond 190 live games – half the Premier League’s total fixtures.
A statement, according to BBC, read: “Any additional broadcast games would mean even more changes to kick-off times away from 3 pm on Saturdays, with an impact of both uncertainty and inconvenience to the match-going fans, especially away fans, whose passion is a huge component of the ‘product’ that broadcasters want to buy and sell.
“Particularly in the event of a new Saturday evening TV slot being created, we urge clubs and broadcasters to give due consideration to issues of geography and travel, and to invest some of the huge broadcast revenues into supporting the attendance and contribution of match-going fans, especially away fans.”
The other X Factor in this tender process could be the big US tech companies such as Amazon and Apple. They are increasingly showing an appetite for live sports rights, as demonstrated by Amazon’s recent deal for US Open tennis.
The industry speculation is that this tender process may have come too soon for the internet giants to make any major splash. It could, however, provide a taste for what lies ahead for both the Premier League and supporters.