FA Cup set to be broadcast exclusively on free-to-air as ITV look to pick up rights

A report in The Times this week suggests that ITV and BBC could be the joint broadcasters of the FA Cup in the UK for four seasons from the start of the 2021/22 season.

According to the report, the FA Cup is heading back exclusively to free-to-air TV from the season after next, in a move that would presumably mean that pay TV broadcaster BT Sport will no longer be home to action from the English domestic cup after the current cycle comes to an end.

SportsPro report that the BBC renewed their current FA Cup deal back in March, and will continue with their package of 18 matches per season, which would leave ITV to pick up the larger package of 30 games per campaign, while both would share the final if the Times report turns out to be correct.

That would bring a major English football competition exclusively to free-to-air platforms, and would also all-but guarantee an audience for a tournament that has often been considered in decline by many over the course of the last few years.

Rights holders are increasingly forced to choose between partnering with subscription-based broadcasters who can pay more for the live content, but will in turn put it behind a paywall, and free-to-air platforms where the broadcast revenue may not be as high, but where more people may potentially see it.

This Saturday evening, Manchester City will take on Watford in the final of this season’s competition in a game which will be broadcast on both the BBC and BT Sport.

Snack Media owns an audience of 26m football fans. If you’re interested in reaching their audience ahead of the new football season in August, contact Calum@Snack-Media.com or call 020 7272 7582.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 836 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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