Full rounds of Premier League games to be shown live for first time | Sport

Full rounds of Premier League games to be shown live for first time | Sport
Full rounds of Premier League games to be shown live for first time | Sport

Four full rounds of Premier League games will reportedly be up for grabs in the new TV rights auction.

They would consist of three midweek rounds of fixtures and a bank holiday programme, meaning full schedules being available to armchair viewers for the first time.

Seven different packages of matches will go out to tender and, of those, one will contain 20 games consisting of two midweek programmes and another will include a midweek and a bank holiday fixture schedule, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Another package reportedly includes eight Saturday night matches, each scheduled for 7.45pm, with each deal beginning in the 2019-20 season.

Prime-time Premier League football on Saturday nights has been on the cards since being given the green light by club executives in November, when they unanimously backed plans for the next set of domestic broadcast rights. It means the top flight will be flexing its muscles as it prepares to go head to head with the likes of Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor on Saturday evenings.

The league has already told the industry regulator Ofcom that it will be increasing the number of live matches available to broadcasters from 168 a season in the current three-year deal, and it is reported to be making 200 games available.

The commitment to not showing any live games between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays continues.

An invitation to tender for the various packages of games – via sealed bids – will be followed by the winning bids being chosen by the end of February.

The last two sales of domestic rights have seen 70 per cent increases in their value, lifting the total to £5.1bn for the existing contract, which saw Sky Sports take the lion’s share of games and BT Sport acquire Saturday evening matches.

Those two domestic giants are expected to compete for the majority of fixtures again, although there may also be interest from the likes of Amazon and Facebook.

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