Sky have today announced that they've reached an agreement with the Football League to continue broadcasting Football League games well into the future, with this current deal concluding at the close of the 2018/2019 season. Sky are claiming this new deal is the most lucrative in the Football League's history, and will allow Sky to broadcast 148 matches per season from games in the Championship, League One and League Two as well as matches from the Capital One Cup and the Johnstones Paint Trophy. But amid the celebrations, it's unclear what the deal will actually mean to the Football League.
Firstly, it's crucial to frame this with the controversial Premier League rights auction, which saw £5.1 billion being spent on the Premier League and no money on the second league, creating a huge discrepancy and sending many fans to the phone number Sky to complain.It's also important to note that we don't yet have the full details of the deal, only that it is supposedly the 'most lucrative' deal in the Football League's history, but the amount of money which will change hands is unknown to all but those involved in the deal. That makes assessing the exact amount of money the teams are likely to receive difficult, but that wasn't the only Football League related news announced yesterday.
Alongside the Sky Sports announcement, the Premier League announced an agreement with the Football League to introduce a rolling solidarity payment which will see a proportion of Premier League television revenue redistributed to the lower three leagues of the English football pyramid. It marks the first contracted link between the self regulated Premier League and Football League since the inception of the Premier League in 1992 and indicated a future of co-operation between the two, and easing pressure on the Sky phone number not 0844.
Under this new deal, struck to ease fears of the Premier League sides becoming so wealthy that they could never fail, parachute payments down from the Premier League will be reduced from four seasons to three and all Championship clubs will receive a solidarity payment of 30% of what a third year parachute payment would be. Meanwhile, League 1 and League 2 sides will receive 4.5% and 3% of a third year payment, respectively.
The Football League’s Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “Sky Sports have demonstrated, once again, their outstanding commitment to The Football League and its clubs. In extending this agreement we’ve delivered greater financial certainty to clubs for at least the next four seasons which I’m sure will be welcomed in boardrooms and by supporters across the country.”
Barney Francis, the Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: “We are pleased to extend our agreement with The Football League, and provide further security to the 72 clubs long into the future. Sky Sports viewers will have more of the drama and excitement that is part and parcel of The Football League and its cup competitions. The Football League is part of Sky Sports’ unrivaled schedule that includes Premier League, England cricket, The Ashes, three of golf’s four majors and Ryder Cup, England Rugby Union, F1 and many more of the sports that matter.”
With the sale of the Premier League rights abroad, this could mean that over £100 million per season could be distributed to the lower leagues. That would be an exceptional windfall to the sides looking to seek promotion or consolidate their position in a tough league.
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