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Friday, April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020
The Premier League could return to our screens on terrestrial channels 

Sky Sports and BT Sports have exclusive rights to Premier League matches, though culture secretary Oliver Dowden is hopeful top-flight fixtures will be made accessible to a wider audience

The UK government have held discussions with the Premier League over the prospect of playing the season's remaining fixtures on free-to-air television.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has urged league officials to consider streaming matches on terrestrial channels.
Top-flight fixtures are currently only screened on subscription channels such as Sky Sports and BT Sports, with Amazon also hosting 20 matches over the Christmas period.
However BBC and ITV could be handed an opportunity to screen the run-in to the campaign if Dowden's calls are met.
Speaking at a meeting of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee on Monday, Dowden suggested all avenues were still open.

"It's a very good point and I've raised exactly this challenge to the Premier League in the conversations I had with them," he said.
"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."
The government are concerned a return to subscription channels could lead members of the public to visit friends houses.
Broadcasting the channels via means accessible to all houses would eliminate such threat, but would not likely be popular with the likes of Sky and BT.
Both companies pay millions for their exclusive packages and are set to lose out on huge sums as a result of the suspension of football across the UK.
But Dowden was open to the idea of matches being screened on other platforms, providing it solves the accessibility issue.
He added: "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.
"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."



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