Live coverage of the Football League is to return to free-to-air television following a £264 million (€350m) joint bid by the BBC and Sky, representing a 135% increase on the present broadcasting arrangements.
The agreement will run for three years from the 2009/10 season. It will secure Sky Sports’ position in football coverage amid the current challenge from Setanta Sports. By securing the rights to terrestrial and pay television, broadband internet, video-on-demand and mobile services, Sky has also managed to squeeze out Virgin Media, which currently holds the online rights to the Football League.
Sky Sports will continue coverage of the Coca-Cola Football League (the second, third and fourth tiers of English football), Carling Cup (the former League Cup) and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy matches (for lower league teams).
The BBC will have the first pick of ten Championship matches and coverage of the Carling Cup. The Carling Cup Final will also be shown live on the BBC for the first time in many years. Earlier this year the BBC and Sky lost the rights to screen the FA Cup following a £425m joint bid from ITV and Setanta.