BBC reach deal with FA to keep FA Cup on free-to-air TV until 2025

BBC reach deal with FA to keep FA Cup on free-to-air TV until 2025

The BBC and the Football Association have agreed a new four-year deal to show the FA Cup on free-to-air television until 2025, they have announced.

The agreement will give the BBC up to 18 live matches per season - up from 16 in the current 2018-21 deal - as well as TV highlights and digital clips, and the plan is to provide greater coverage of the tournament's early stages, with up to six live matches across the first and second rounds.

In a statement, FA chief commercial and football development officer Mark Bullingham said: "The Emirates FA Cup is the best and most historic domestic cup competition in the world - and we are delighted to have agreed a new long-term commitment to keep it on the BBC until 2025.

"The popularity of the competition goes from strength to strength and continues to draw some of the largest audiences in sport. Over 8.1 million tuned in for the fifth-round tie between Chelsea and Manchester United, making it the most-watched match of the 2018/19 domestic season to date."

Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater said the deal is important for the public service broadcaster as it delivers big viewing figures, "engages a younger audience and provides memorable sporting moments that unite a nation".

No financial details for the deal were announced.

The BBC currently shares the rights with BT, which gets 30 live matches per season. It was announced earlier on Tuesday that the BBC would broadcast the Manchester City-Brighton semi-final on April 6, with the pay-TV service getting the Watford-Wolves game a day later.

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