BBC and BT Sport to share FA Cup rights

The BBC and BT Sport are to share rights to English FA Cup football under a new four-year deal.

The agreement with the Football Association will see the return of the competition, free-to-view, on BBC 1 and on BBC Sport, which is free to BT Broadband subscribers.

Coverage of the competition will be available on TV, online, and on mobile and tablet devices.

BBC Director-General Tony Hall said, “Bringing the FA Cup back to the BBC was something I really wanted to do and I am so pleased that we have achieved it for football fans everywhere. There is something very special about big national moments on the BBC and the FA Cup should absolutely be one of them. The Olympics, Wimbledon and Glastonbury have shown how our audiences love it when we put the full weight of all our services on TV, radio and digital behind covering these events in depth and in ways no one else can.  Working closely with the FA I believe we will change the way we view the FA Cup forever.”

Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT Retail: said: “BT Sport made a determined joint bid to retain The FA Cup rights because we believe it is one of the truly great club football competitions. We are thrilled to bring our viewers the incredible stories of passion, and victories against all odds, that pepper the history of the competition. These include Leeds United being humbled by Second Division Sunderland in the 1973 final, right up to May this year, when unfancied Wigan Athletic defeated Manchester City at Wembley. We will be fielding a superb line up of presenting talent to showcase and analyse all of the action. And because BT Sport is free with BT broadband on BT TV, online or via satellite we are confident that we can reach a large audience rapidly.”

BT has separately added new programmes and presenters to its channels. New programmes include BT Sport Live, a nightly sports news, information and debate show, with former football manager Neil Warnock as a contributor. Tuesday and Sunday nights will feature BT Sport Films, featuring stories behind sports, personalities and issues. Sunday night will focus on European football with James Richardson. Wednesday nights will feature Rugby Tonight, hosted by Matt Dawson, Craig Doyle, Martin Bayfield and Sarra Elgan. Saturday will feature BTSP (BT Sports Panel), presented by Tim Lovejoy. As well as Neil Warnock, BT Sport has confirmed that Gary McAllister, the former Scotland captain, Motherwell, Leeds United and Liverpool midfielder will join the team as co-commentator on its Scottish football coverage and other top flight football.

BT Sport’s live sport coverage will also showcase a specially-built studio facility allowing football, rugby and other sports to be demonstrated on a first-of-its-kind interactive playing surface, according to BT.