The first set of live Premier League television fixtures for next season are likely to be announced tomorrow.
The new £3.018 billion (€3.5bn) deal for Britain’s domestic TV rights for the next three years represents a 70% increase on the previous contract.
Sky, who have televised Premier League games since the birth of the competition in 1992, will show some 116 matches over the course of the forthcoming campaign, which will now also include the 5.30pm slot on a Saturday, as well as their usual Sunday afternoon and Monday night games.
BT will also be significant players this season, having paid £738m (€858m) over three years for the games which under monopoly regulations can’t be sold to Sky.
The company will have 18 “first picks” of matches, and will show games at 12.45pm on Saturdays and also bank holidays via their own platforms, which include a dedicated sports channel available on satellite.
Last season, some 129 out of the 138 Premier League games broadcast live in the UK were scheduled with at least six weeks’ notice for supporters. Alterations to kick-off times and dates can also be made for a host of other reasons, including the progress of teams in European and domestic cup competitions as well as on police advice.
The new Premier League season will begin on Saturday, August 17, and there will be a number of fixtures that may be attractive to broadcasters in the opening round and may therefore move out of the traditional 3pm slot.
David Moyes takes charge of his first league game as Manchester United manager at Swansea, and Jose Mourinho’s first competitive game since returning to Chelsea — at home to Hull — are two obvious candidates for TV, as is Manuel Pellegrini’s bow as Manchester City boss against Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.
A spokesman for the Football Supporters’ Federation criticised what it sees as the delay between the announcement of the new season’s fixtures and the confirmation of which games would be rescheduled for TV.
“The fixtures have been out for weeks now, so fans will be frustrated that it’s taken TV companies so long to get their act together,” the spokesman said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved