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Premier League 'to boost TV matches' in bumper deal

Football will go head-to-head with popular entertainment programmes on Saturday evenings, according to reports.

The Premier League trophy (file pic).
The Premier League trophy (file pic).
Image: Nick Potts

THE PREMIER LEAGUE will make dozens more games available in its next TV rights auction as clubs target an increase on the huge £5 billion (€5.7 billion) deal they secured last time, a report said Friday.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper said for the first time entire rounds of Premier League matches would be shown live and football would go head-to-head with popular entertainment programmes on Saturday evenings.

Four full rounds of Premier League games will reportedly be up for grabs — three midweek rounds of fixtures and a programme on a public holiday.

The Telegraph said the league had issued the tender document for TV rights to fixtures for three seasons from 2019-20 and 200 of the league’s 380 matches would be available — 42 more than at present.

The commitment to not showing any live games between 2:45 pm and 5:15 pm on Saturdays continues, aimed at protecting attendances for lower-league football.

The past two sales of domestic rights have seen 70% increases in their value, taking the total to £5.1 billion for the current three-year deal, with Sky Sports showing the lion’s share of matches and BT Sport also broadcasting a chunk of games.

The auction, reportedly set for February, comes at a time of increasing speculation that the likes of Amazon and Facebook could make a serious foray into football broadcasting.

Amazon beat Sky in the race for ATP Tour tennis rights in Britain and has struck a deal for British rights to the US Open but indications are that the auction for Premier League rights may come too soon for the internet giants.

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