Premier League In Discussions To Present Free-to-view Games

Premier League is in negotiations with the government as the season resumes to screen televised games on terrestrial television.

Oliver Dowden, secretary of entertainment, reported today that the top flight is contemplating broadcasting games on free-to-view networks like the BBC and ITV.

The Prem could be shown on these channels to stop people from going to their mates’ houses to watch.

Premier League football is shown on Sky Sports and BT Sport here – which both require expensive subscriptions.

Asked about the prospect of footie being shown on free-to-air TV, Mr Dowden, speaking today at a meeting of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee, said: “It’s a very good point and I’ve raised exactly this challenge to the Premier League in the conversations I had with them.

“I have said to the Premier League in particular… I think it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it.

“I appreciate that sports are reliant on the revenue they derive [from subscriptions] so I don’t want to issue some blanket mandate on trying to change things round.

“But they are mindful and there are different ways you can protect revenue from broadcasting but also look at ways of increasing access.

“I have urged them to do that and that’s what they are considering.

“They need to be mindful of access points but that doesn’t have to be just in the form of going onto traditional terrestrial channels or, indeed, showing all of matches.

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“There are all sorts of creative options and I think it’s something they should consider and they have said they are considering it.

“I’ll put it no more strongly than that.”

The Premier League season – currently suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic – could resume as early as June 8.

But the government has warned football will not be given any special treatment and players and staff would still need to be tested before play resumes.

SunSport of UK told you top-flight clubs plan to return to training on May 9 after informing their players to get ready to go back to work.

But Premier League chiefs insist no play will happen until it is “safe to do so” and they continue to follow government advice.

When football does return, reports have claimed some four games a day could be played behind closed doors at Wembley.

Mr Dowden also said finishing the Premier League season was vital for helping the finances of lower league teams because it would allow the transfer window to open and would enable money to trickle down the football pyramid.

He said: “I think the financial reality for most clubs is their biggest source of income is the direct transfers that they get from the Premier League.

“And if we had the Premier League to operate somewhere behind closed doors, it will dramatically relieve the pressure on all the other clubs because there’s the money flow among them.”


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