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Sky Sports and ITV put pen to paper on EFL sub-licensing deal

Published: Updated: 11:14, 31 May 2024
The free-to-air broadcaster will be able to air select Carabao Cup and Championship matches next season

Sky Sports and ITV put pen to paper on EFL sub-licensing deal

The free-to-air broadcaster will be able to air select Carabao Cup and Championship matches next season

Sky Sports and ITV have reached a preliminary agreement that will allow UK football fans to enjoy free-to-air coverage of select Carabao Cup and Championship fixtures. This new deal, which begins in January 2025, has been approved by EFL Clubs under the League’s regulations.

The agreement commences with the Carabao Cup semi-finals, running until the end of the 2026/27 season. It means that ITV will jointly broadcast a select number of games also available on Sky Sports. Each full season, at least nine Carabao Cup matches will be screened on ITV including:

  • One tie from each of the first four rounds
  • One additional tie from either the third or fourth round
  • Two quarter-final ties
  • One semi-final tie
  • The final itself

In addition to this, ITV will simulcast ten matches from the EFL Championship each full season starting with five matches in the second half of the 2024/25 season. They also have an option to swap a Championship game for a League One or League Two fixture.

Sky Sports Managing Director, Jonathan Licht, said:

“This momentous upcoming season of over 1,000 matches from the EFL on Sky Sports+ shows our huge ambition and increased dedication to the EFL and its supporters. Working with a free-to-air broadcaster isn’t new for us and many of our partners, as we endeavour to help grow and broaden audiences for sports."

"With ITV set to simulcast a select number of matches from the EFL from 2025 alongside Sky Sports' full coverage, it means that millions of football fans in the UK will be able to enjoy plenty of action from the Cup and League, boosting the exposure for clubs which is great news for all.”

This deal comes as part of a groundbreaking partnership between the EFL and Sky Sports which is set to kick off at the start of the 2024/25 season. Over 1,000 matches every season will be broadcast live - quadrupling current figures - featuring all 72 teams over twenty times per season.

These games will be brought via Sky Sports+ which includes multiple live streams, a dedicated channel, and an upgraded mobile app – all without extra charges for existing subscribers. This increased exposure promises unprecedented visibility for EFL clubs while ensuring broader audiences access more action from these leagues.

As part of its long-standing partnership with the EFL, ITV will also extend its existing EFL highlights deal starting from the 2024/25 season. This extension includes broadcasting 55 highlight programmes per season across ITV1 and ITV4, with simultaneous streaming and on-demand viewing available on ITVX.

ITV Sports Director, Niall Sloane, said:

"This deal brings viewers free-to-air coverage of top-level knockout football over the coming years, as well as standout matches from the EFL, adding regular live matches to our highlights shows. We’re looking forward to bringing fans some superb action and insight from this new, fuller EFL package across the next few seasons.”

EFL Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Birch, added:

“We’re delighted to continue a long-standing relationship with ITV, in partnership with Sky Sports, to deliver an added showcasing of the best of the EFL to a wider audience. We want the EFL to be accessible to as many audiences as possible, and this extra offering, with no additional subscription required, only enhances our reputation. I’d like to thank both organisations for their ongoing support and genuine commitment to all EFL competitions.”

Sky continues to be the undisputed home for sports fans in the UK, offering more top-quality sports than anywhere else. Record audiences tuned into Sky Sports in 2023, and with key rights secured until the end of this decade, sports fans can access more of their favourite sports than ever before. Non-Sky subscribers can purchase a NOW Sports Day or Month Membership for instant contract-free access to all Sky Sports channels.

This new deal adds to ITV’s sports portfolio which includes UEFA EURO 2024 matches, horse racing, and Six Nations rugby. With this addition, football fans have even more reasons to tune into free-to-air broadcasts as they enjoy their favourite sport.

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