New hope for BBC as broadcaster ‘could be given more live Premier League games for 2020-21 season’ if decision is made to screen EVERY match until fans return to stadiums in meeting next week
The BBC could be awarded more live Premier League matches for the 2020-21 season if clubs reverse their decision to block fans being able to watch the 160 unaired matches.
All 20 clubs will hold talks next week to decide whether to continue screening all of their games while fans remain banned from attending stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Telegraph.
At a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, clubs agreed to reconsider the move to now allow more than the 220 allocated matches for television broadcast to be aired in the UK despite pressure from fans and the government.
The BBC could be awarded more live Premier League matches for the 2020-21 season
All clubs will hold talks this week to decide whether to continue screening during pandemic
The Premier League initially began talks with their broadcast partners to look at screening every match from the beginning of the season until at least October 1, when teams are expected to be allowed to have a number of spectators back.
The main partners include Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon, but also the BBC, which became the first terrestrial broadcaster to air live Premier League matches after the league returned in a behind closed doors format following a three-month hiatus due to the pandemic.
They were awarded four matches as part of the ‘Project Restart’ plan as football returned to television screens in a move to compensate for the sporting blackout caused by Covid-19 and to assist the Government in their move to get as many people watching sport as possible during tough times for the nation.
The league began talks with broadcast partners on screening every match until October 1
While the BBC airing Premier League matches for the new season would see huge ratings due to their free-to-air rights, it could have an adverse effect on their separate programming around the English top-flight.
Both the BBC’s radio coverage and Match of the Day highlights TV show could see much lower numbers – a move they will be wary of as the latter cost them £211.5million in rights for the 2019-22 seasons.
Sources at the rights’ holders, via the Telegraph, are expecting the BBC to be awarded at least one more fixture if the Premier League do take a U-turn on their screening stance.
That would mean the BBC showing one of the 11 not already selected for television by lead broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport – which between them picked every match including Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City during September.
A split would see Sky awarded six or seven, BT two or three and Amazon and the BBC one each
The expectation remains that Sky, BT and Amazon would be given nearly all the other remaining matches due to how much they currently pay for the live rights.
A potential split would see Sky awarded six or seven, BT two or three and Amazon and the BBC one each.
Sources were not expecting the league to find an alternative method of screening the 11 matches, such as via clubs’ own websites.
A pay-per-view model is also unlikely to be approved at this stage, despite fans being willing to spend a £10 fee to watch their teams in a match they would not be able to attend.