The Football Association have announced a four year broadcasting deal with Satellite and Cable channel ESPN. The deal replaces the now defunct agreement with Setanta Sports and will start for the 2010-11 season and continue through until the 2013-14 season.
From the start of the 2010-11 season, ESPN will show up to 25 FA Cup matches per season, including one Semi-Final match and a shared broadcast of The FA Cup Final (on both ESPN and ITV). ESPN will televise two matches in The FA Cup First and Second Rounds (plus up to two replays per round), three matches from the Third to Fifth Rounds (plus up to one replay), two Quarter-Finals (plus up to one replay) and one Semi-Final for each of the next four seasons.
The deal is in addition to ITV's current broadcasting deal, which runs until the summer of 2012. The ESPN deal also includes the rights to England Under-21s home fixtures as well as the Women’s Super League, which is due to launch in 2011.
The Football Association themselves still plan to continue broadcasting games live over the internet, after they stepped in to fill the gap caused by the collapse of Setanta. The FA state that they "will continue to broadcast one or two games per round up to the Fifth Round via TheFA.com and will continue to host games online in the future as the project expands".
ITV will continue to have the broadcasting rights for all England home qualifying matches through until the end of the 2011-12 season as well as home and away friendly internationals. Sky Sports has the rights to broadcast The FA Community Shield and The FA Women’s Cup Final until 2012. Away qualifying matches continue to be bid for with the hosting country FA on a match-by-match basis.
Whilst on the subject of live broadcasts, ITV have sorted out the full set of matches they plan to screen for the Third Round games in the FA Cup. They've been granted three live transmissions, having already selected Reading vs Liverpool for Saturday 2nd January 2010, and have followed that up with West Ham United vs Arsenal on the Sunday.
But surprise, surprise. With Leeds United having featured already in the First Round against Oldham Athletic (on the FA Website) and in two second round matches against Kettering Town, in a stunning bit of originality, ITV have decided following last night's replay against the Poppies to show them live in the Third Round as well, with Manchester United the opposition at Old Trafford on the Sunday. Add in Carling Cup, JPT and League One screenings of Leeds this season and we're in danger of reaching the point where we know the Leeds first team better than our own. The obvious implication given this morning's announcement is that if Kettering had got through, then ITV would have picked another match to broadcast.
Upcoming Live Broadcasts For League One/Two Clubs:
09/12/2009 : Millwall vs Staines Town (7.45p.m. FA Website, FAC2R)
03/01/2010 : Manchester United vs Leeds United (1.00p.m., ITV1)
25/01/2010 : Charlton Athletic vs Leyton Orient (7.45p.m. Sky Sports, CCL1)
01/02/2010 : Bury vs Rochdale (7.45p.m. Sky Sports, CCL2)
08/02/2010 : Colchester United vs Southend United (7.45p.m. Sky Sports, CCL1)
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