The Football League have agreed a new broadcast rights deal with satellite broadcaster Sky Sports. The new deal will commence from the start of the 2012-13 season and run for three years, with the package worth £195m as a whole. The package covers broadcast agreements for the three Football League competitions, including the Football League Cup (currently sponsored as the Carling Cup) and the Football League Trophy (currently sponsored as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy).
The new package allows Sky Sports the rights to broadcast the following live matches:
a) 75 live Football League matches
b) All Football League play-off semi-final matches, along with the three finals
c) A total of 15 live matches from the Football League Cup including both legs of each Semi-Final and the Final
d) The Football League Trophy Final and at least two matches from the preceding rounds.
In addition Sky Sports will have the rights to highlights and clip packages encompassing all three competitions, and including media platforms such as broadband internet, video-on-demand and mobile telephony products.
The Football League have also stated that they are negotiating free-to-air highlights packages with an unnamed terrestrial broadcaster. The current rights sit with the BBC, through their occasional Championship division live matches, the Football League Show and Late Kick-Off programmes.
In a statement issued today, Football League Chairman Greg Clarke says of the new deal:
"Sky Sports is a highly valued partner of The Football League and we are delighted to extend our relationship for a further three seasons. They are a class act and our clubs will welcome their continued support. This has been a challenging climate in which to negotiate television rights, given the state of the economy and the lack of competitive tension in the sports broadcasting market. I am confident that our clubs will take heart from seeing such a significant ongoing investment in their competitions, despite a reduced level of broadcasting income, as it provides financial certainty in uncertain times."
The League's statement indicate that the new deal will take Sky beyond their 1,000th live Football League game, and overall bring in excess of 100 live matches per season across the three League competitions.
Update: There's a fairly gloomy reaction to this statement in The Guardian newspaper who describe the deal as being a £23m per season reduction on the current arrangements, or a 26 percent cut. They cost the current deal as being worth £88m per season but point out that they believe the BBC withdrew from the bidding process, leaving Sky as the only serious bidder. They report that 82 percent of current Football League contracts will have expired by then, giving clubs no excuses for not bringing their current wage structures into line with the revised deal by 2012. They believe the highlights package that is still up for grabs will be worth a seven figure sum.
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