The EFL picked Sky Sports out of potential suitors as its preferred bidder for the UK rights in the near future. The primary competition came from DAZN, which wanted to stream every EFL match on the service. Now, Sky Sports and the EFL will go into final contract details for the rights that start with the 2024/25 season.
The EFL rights consist of the Championship, League One and League Two. Despite the league saying it was open to new bidders, it appears to be sticking with the same provider that has been broadcasting games since 2002. Sky Sports and EFL have had UK rights deals dating back decades, but the EFL’s interest in other bidders brought out some interesting offers.
The primary of those was from DAZN, which is entirely streaming. The EFL did claim it would make its entire catalog of 1,891 games per season available. This would have put an end to the 3 p.m. GMT blackouts that exist in the UK. For those unaware, any games taking place at 3 p.m. on Saturdays in the UK are not available domestically on TV.
Yet, the move back to Sky Sports likely keeps the blackout time slot intact. The negotiation process between the EFL and Sky Sports should last around a month. Then, once that finalizes the new deal kicks into gear beginning with the 2024/25 campaign.
EFL goes familiar with Sky Sports on UK rights
Sky Sports and the EFL go hand-in-hand. As stated, the two have a deal that runs back as far as 2002. Despite the deal looking bleak upon the EFL’s interest in other options, the lack of change could be a benefit to fans.
Of course, the blackout issues remains a major criticism of watching the sport in the UK. For example, look at the Premier League. It is not part of the EFL, but still has games blacked out in the UK during the 3 p.m. window. There are usually four or five games during that slot that fans in the UK cannot watch on TV. It forced some to miss out on major moments, including Reiss Nelson’s last-second winner against Bournemouth.
The EFL announcing Sky Sports as the preferred bidder for the UK rights keeps games on TV, but the blackout is all but assured to remain.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Picture Point
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