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ITV in £15m talk to broadcast EFL Cup and Championship matches

ITV hunting for sublicensing deal for 20 matches fom EFL Cup and Championship

ITV is reportedly in negotiations with Sky Sports for a sublicensing deal worth UK£15 million (US$19.1 million) to broadcast up to 20 live matches from the English Football League (EFL) Championship and the League Cup on free-to-air (FTA) television next season. This potential deal would mark the return of these competitions to FTA TV for the first time since 2012.

Sky’s record UK£935 million (US$1.2 billion) domestic five-year deal with the EFL, which begins next season, allows the pay-TV broadcaster to show more than 1,000 matches from all three divisions and cup competitions. Selected matches will be available on Sky’s linear channels, while all other games – including every single fixture not scheduled for 3pm Saturday and all ties from the EFL Cup – will be available on their new streaming service, Sky Sports+.

Sky keen on potential sublicensing deal

According to reports, Sky is eager to provide more exposure for EFL clubs and its own broadcast offering while also generating some revenue to offset the cost of their record-breaking deal. Preliminary talks were held with other public service broadcasters such as Channel 4 and Channel 5; however, ITV seems likely due its attractive proposal as it already serves as EFL’s FTA highlights partner.

The structure of this potential sublicensing deal could allow ITV first choice of matches from selected match weeks or cup rounds. The current proposal includes ten ties from both -the EFL Cup including a semi-final and final itself- along with ten Championship matches.

No exclusivity arrangement for ITV

It's important note that there would be no exclusivity arrangement under this proposed agreement; any game selected by ITV would also be available on Sky Sports. While the deal is yet to be finalized, EFL clubs will be asked to vote on the basic terms of the agreement. Following this, Sky will enter into formal contract negotiations.

The last time EFL matches were available domestically on FTA platforms was between 2009 and 2012 when a joint bid by BBC and Sky won the rights. The BBC showed ten games a season from Championship exclusively, along with an FTA highlights show, an EFL Cup semi-final and final itself.

This potential sublicensing deal marks a significant shift in sports broadcasting landscape in UK. It not only brings back popular football competitions to free-to-air television but also provides more exposure for EFL clubs while generating additional revenue for broadcasters.

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