Premier League football is to be shown on Friday nights for the first time as part of the new broadcast rights auction for the 2016-19 seasons.
The Premier League announced a total of 168 live games would be made available to broadcasters – an increase of 14 on the current contract – across seven packages.
Up to 10 Friday night matches, but a proposal to also run Sunday night games – which had been discussed with current rights holders Sky and BT – has not been included. Teams in the Football League, which this season had been experimenting with non-televised Friday night kick-offs will be watching the move with interest.
Under the terms of the auction no single broadcaster will be allowed to win more than 126 matches from packages split into five of 28 games and two of 14.
There will also be separate auctions for the highlights package, which currently forms the basis of the BBC’s long running Match of the Day, near live rights (held by Sky) and the internet clips package currently held by News UK, publisher of The Sun and The Times.
Between them BT and Sky paid £3.018 billion for the current live TV package. Analysts are anticipating the new auction could reach as much as £4.5 billion.
Sky Sports five packages cover Saturday teatime, Sunday lunchtime and teatime and Monday Evening. BT holds rights to Saturday lunchtime and some midweek games.