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Fans thrilled with ITV in talks to show English football

Fans have been left thrilled as reports confirm that ITV are in talks to show English football, something they done a good while back.

BT are currently seeking to sell a stake in its pay-TV sport business, which airs content including Premier League and Champions League football, and is understood to have held talks with companies including Amazon, ITV and the sport streaming service Dazn.

ITV have previously held the rights to English top flight football highlights (both in its current iteration as the Premier League and as the old Football League First Division).

It acquired the Premiership highlights in 2000 for the 2001–02, 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, surprising the BBC, the previous holders, and ending Match of the Day as a weekly programme.

The ITV programme was titled The Premiership and originally went out at 7pm, but this ended up being unpopular with viewers and advertisers.

The Goal Rush was aired on Saturday during the football matches taking place on that day to provide live scores and match reports.

It used a similar format to Gillette Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports but never achieved good ratings. The programme ended in 2003. ITV held the Premiership rights for one three-year contract – the rights returned to the BBC for the start of the 2004–05 season.

ITV also showed coverage of the African Cup of Nations on ITV4 from 2010–2015 with both live coverage and highlights, these rights were lost after 2015 to British Eurosport who show the tournament exclusively. ITV also showed highlights of the UEFA Champions League & Europa League from 2015–2018 after they lost their live rights but it was transferred to BT Sport after the 2018 final.

www.fanbanter.co.uk – Fan reaction to the latest football news, gossip & funnies

The telecoms company have invested billions of pounds in sports rights to set up BT Sport and make them a competitor to Sky, so are now assessing all options including a full sale, joint venture partnership with a media company or selling a stake.

“Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business and help take it to the next stage in its growth,” said the company, which has appointed the investment bank Lazard to explore strategic options. “The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome.”

BT has opened talks with a range of potential companies including Amazon, which streams sport including live Premier League matches on its Prime Video service as well as Dazn (a sports streaming service), Disney, ITV, as well as some private equity companies.

BT’s share price went up almost 3% as investors welcomed the potential cash injection and sharing of costly sports rights bills.

BT launched the pay-TV service back in 2012 to try to match Sky and stem the loss of millions of broadband customers to its rival. This is work, however it has cost BT billions of pounds in investment in a series of bidding wars with Sky to secure prime sports rights over the last decade, although BT Sport itself has only brought in a few million subscribers.

In the last few years, the battle between BT and Sky has relaxed, mainly due to a channel-sharing deal so customers can watch all Premier League games without being forced to buy separate TV packages, with the telecoms pegging back spend to settle as a “viable second” player in sports broadcasting in the UK. The company has instead turned their focus on aggregating content through its BT TV service, offering content from partners including Sky, Netflix and Amazon.

www.fanbanter.co.uk – Fan reaction to the latest football news, gossip & funnies

BT are now looking on its core telecoms operation with the company now investing £12.5bn in upgrading much of the UK’s internet network to next-generation full-fibre broadband, and is to spend billions on building its 5G mobile network.

The Guardian add that: “BT also has a pension deficit of about £9.5bn, with payments of around £1bn annually, which some expensive sports rights deal money could be redirected to covering if a partner were found for BT Sport. It is understood that while BT would like to have an offer for the outright sale of BT Sport, it is more in favour to retain a stake in the business. with ITV potentially taking advantage.

“At the last Premier League rights auction in 2018, total takings came in about £600m lower than the previous record £5.1bn, the first decrease since the 2004-05 three-year cycle of rights. The Premier League is currently seeking government approval to avoid an auction for the next rights cycle, which covers 2022-25, instead striking direct deals with existing rights holders Sky, BT and Amazon.”

Meanwhile, we do know that the FA Cup is coming back to ITV.

It has been announced that a new broadcast deal will show the competition, and making it available entirely free-to-air to viewers from 2021 in a new four year deal.

www.fanbanter.co.uk – Fan reaction to the latest football news, gossip & funnies

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “We are delighted to be able to broadcast the FA Cup once again. We are particularly pleased that we shared The FA’s vision of a completely free-to-air competition and look forward to bringing new viewers all the along the road to Wembley Stadium.”

Mark Bullingham, FA Chief Commercial; Football Development Officer, said: “The Emirates FA Cup continues to capture the public’s imagination, drawing millions of viewers at every stage.

“This agreement with ITV is fantastic news and means that we will reach the broadest possible audience across the country. ITV has been a great broadcast partner with the England Men’s Internationals and will do a brilliant job with the coverage of the world’s most historic cup competition.”

ITV will also cover the Euros this summer so be sure to keep an eye out with pundits and presenters due to be announced for that.

Fans were thrilled with ITV in talks to show English football, see what was tweeted below…

@FTMatty: Premier league football in 2021 is a very different proposition to Championship football in 2000. ITV Sport failed because the encryption was so easily cracked. Not an issue for free to air services.

@Karl_Downey: Champions League please.

@JoeDyson99: Get rid of Matterface, bring back Tyldesley as number 1, would be superb

@DavidDavidida: Football League! I remember when I was a kid each regional ITV station would broadcast a Division 1 game from their area every Sunday. We had Central Soccer Sunday here. It was great! This was early-mid 90s. Proper Football!!

@thenorthover: As long as @CliveTyldesley is on commentary duty though

@chrisquinny01: It’s a beautiful dayyyyyyyyyyyy

@mcfcleo_: Champions League priority please!


@afcphoenix_: Please @ITV I will do anything

@Naby_Lad_: I’d love this. ITV coverage was excellent, but @CliveTyldesley needs to be on as many games as possible. Iconic voice.

@kecfc_123: Put the efl on there


@AaronIrwin7: Please make this happen. I miss watching Champions League football and having it on free to air TV.

@TedJoyce_: DO IT

@Nabyllionaire: The beautiful game didn’t die, it was just in a coma

@lfcthursto: it’ll be fucking limbs if this happens 😋

@f1nbell: ITV doing the lords work

@NotRLFC: Oh my days football might be back

@WillScrivin99: please i’m on my knees

@THFCtilidie: Make it happen @itvfootball

@JustCantona: As long as Shatterface isn’t on commentary, get the old gang of Tyldesley & Lawrence back like the good days.


@BlobbyOllie: Well, why not. We need more free to air football, the entry barrier to view most football live is too high (especially for younger generations).

@anyotherleader: They should have some free to air champions league games. Thats how you get kids more involved. Not making it really expensive on subscription only and then concluding the reason they arent watching is because they want to so Barcelona vs juventus every week

@mattbooth88: I’m old enough to remember Champions League being free to watch on ITV.

@JamieRussell10: I just wanna here clives voice again @CliveTyldesley

@MATTMIL98314537: Good so we dont have to listen to biased prick robbie savage. Its cringeworthy!

@Fess____: @itvfootball UCL on itv, when life was good

@jtweets92: Bring champions league back to ITV!

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