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Home Coronavirus Premier League games 'will not be televised on free-to-air channels' next season

Premier League games ‘will not be televised on free-to-air channels’ next season

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Premier League matches ‘will not be televised live on free-to-air channels’ next season despite fans being locked out of stadiums for the first few weeks.

And the unprecedented screening of every top-flight fixture in the UK as seen post-restart will also not continue in 2020-21.

Since English football returned following the Covid-19 lockdown, all 92 Premier League matches have been broadcast live on either Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime or the BBC.

Premier League fixtures 'will not be screened on free-to-air channels' next season despite the likelihood that supporters won't be allowed back into stadiums right away

Premier League fixtures ‘will not be screened on free-to-air channels’ next season despite the likelihood that supporters won’t be allowed back into stadiums right away

The Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool was one of 33 shown free-to-air

The Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool was one of 33 shown free-to-air

Thirty-three of those 92 matches were shown free-to-air on either the BBC, Amazon or Sky’s Pick channel with games played behind closed doors without supporters.

A Telegraph report this week suggested more games could be broadcast free next season but, according to The Times, Premier League coverage will revert to normal at the beginning of the next campaign with subscriptions needed to view the games.

That’s despite the likelihood that fans won’t be allowed inside stadiums for at least the first three weeks of a season due to start on September 12 – and only then in restricted numbers.

Broadcast partners Sky, BT Sport and Amazon came under pressure from the government to ensure all matches were accessible following the league’s resumption in June.

But with that pressure now gone, the broadcasters are keen to revert to the previous situation where only half of Premier League games are shown live.

Jamie Carragher (left) and John Barnes pictured on Sky's coverage of a Premier League game

Jamie Carragher (left) and John Barnes pictured on Sky’s coverage of a Premier League game

Southampton's 1-0 win over Manchester City, shown live on the BBC, attracted 5.7m viewers

Southampton’s 1-0 win over Manchester City, shown live on the BBC, attracted 5.7m viewers

In 2018, Sky Sports paid £3.75billion to show 128 matches a season, while BT Sport paid £975m for 52 live games, with Amazon securing a deal to livestream 20 matches.

The Premier League paid a rebate to broadcasters before the league resumed to compensate for the disruption caused to the season and for the free-to-air matches.

Though the Government is keen to get crowds back into stadiums by October, this is likely to be in restricted numbers at first to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The BBC’s live coverage of the match between Southampton and Manchester City attracted a league record 5.7million UK viewers on July 5.

Sportsmail has contacted Sky Sports for comment. 

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