EXCLUSIVE: Premier League cut a deal to show 20 extra matches on TV in the new season – but none on free-to-air – as fans face missing out on watching their teams live
- Premier League will announce 20 extra matches will be broadcast this season
- It will soften the blow of fans being banned from stadiums until at least October
- But none will be broadcast on free-to-air channels like they were last season
- The majority of the additional 20 TV fixtures will be broadcast by Sky Sports
The Premier League will announce that an extra 20 matches will be broadcast live on television this season when they release the fixture list on Thursday morning.
The top-flight clubs have opted against televising every game as they did during Project Restart due to fears from broadcaster that wall-to-wall football would dilute their audiences and concerns over a lack of space in their schedules.
But Sportsmail has learned that some additional matches will be shown to compensate for the fact that fans will be prohibited from attending games until October at the earliest.
The Premier League will announce that an extra 20 matches will be broadcast live this season
Broadcasters will be given additional games, with the majority of the 20 going to Sky Sports
As Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday a number of clubs had sought permission to stream non-televised matches on their websites using the iFollow service developed by the EFL in the hope of raising additional revenue via subscriptions.
But that proposal was blocked by an alliance of Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime who have collectively paid over £5billion over three years for the live rights to Premier League games.
Instead those broadcasters will be given additional games, with the majority of the extra 20 going to Sky Sports.
But no matches will be made available free-to-air next season like they were in Project Restart
Under the existing agreement Sky were due to show 128 games this season, with 52 on BT Sport and 20 on Amazon Prime.
In addition to securing extra games the rights holders have secured another victory by ensuring that no matches will be made available free-to-air next season.
During Project Restart the Premier League bowed to pressure from Government to make live games more widely available by gifting four matches to the BBC despite that fact that they did not have any live rights, while others were shown of Sky’s free-to-air channel, Sky Pick.