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Sky secures English Football League rights with expanded offering

FBL-ENG-HUDDERSFIELD-READINGSky has secured the rights to show live coverage of English Football League (EFL) games until 2024, beating off competition from rival BT Sport.

Sky has struck a deal that will see it show up to 183 matches exclusively live each year in the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One, Sky Bet League Two, Carabao Cup and Checkatrade Trophy – a 26% increase in the number of games shown via its current deal – starting from the 2019-20 season.

Sky Sports will also for the first time broadcast 80 Sky Bet Championship midweek matches across its interactive and digital platforms, taking the total number of potential matches available to Sky Sports customers to over 260, up from the current 145 games.

The additional midweek games will also be available across the EFL iFollow streaming service.

“This is great news for EFL fans and our viewers, with more live games than ever before and more opportunities for fans to watch their teams live. With a new dedicated football channel, newly enhanced digital platforms, adding more games means Sky Sports is getting even better for football fans,” said Barney Francis, Sky Sports managing director.

Francis said that viewing of live EFL games grew by 12% year-on-year last season, and is up a further 7% so far this season.

“Sky Sports has for many years been a hugely important and valued partner of the EFL and we are delighted to extend our relationship by a further five years. I would like to thank all those who submitted bids and we now look forward to working with the Sky Sports team as they cement their position as the broadcast home of live EFL matches,” said EFL CEO Shaun Harvey.

“In agreeing a deal over five seasons, it delivers a guaranteed increase in the level of income distributed to EFL Clubs from 2019-20 and long-term financial certainty was an absolute priority throughout this process. It is a partnership that as well as having mutual tangible benefits, allows the EFL to maximise reach and exposure for its competitions, alongside providing further opportunities for Clubs to generate additional incremental revenues through iFollow.”

The recently-launched iFollow was developed out of the EFL’s PlayerHD online video platform. In addition to offering coverage of some matches in the UK, the new service is available to an estimated 270,000 EFL fans based outside the UK with an expanded line-up of matches. The EFL tapped online video specialist Neulion to provide the platform for the service.

The EFL encompasses the English Championship, League One and League Two divisions, representing the second tier of English football down from the Premier League.