MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - The English Football League (EFL), which includes the second-tier Championship and two lower divisions, has signed a new five-year broadcasting rights deal with Sky Sports worth 595 million pounds ($764.99 million), it said on Monday.
There were media reports that some Championship clubs were against the deal and Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani had talked of a possible breakaway ‘Premier League 2”.
But after a board meeting on Monday, the EFL decided to accept the package from Sky Sports, the league’s current broadcast partner.
"The Board considered all relevant material, which included correspondence from Championship Clubs, and in view of all the information available, it determined that it was in the overall best interests of the EFL to sign the five year, 595 million pounds agreement," said the statement here
“The new deal represents a 35 percent increase on the current arrangement”.
EFL interim chair Debbie Jevans said it had been a difficult process.
“Concluding these negotiations has indeed been challenging, as is the case when managing a diverse group of stakeholders, and the Board took on board the comments and frustrations voiced by a number of Clubs and has committed to reviewing the way the League engages with its Clubs to ensure that we move forward in a collaborative way in the future,” she said.
Under the deal Sky Sports will have the right to stream midweek Championship fixtures via its interactive services.
The clubs can live-stream in the UK and Ireland any non-televised league match via their own iFollow service, apart from those in the Saturday afternoon blackout period.
The EFL includes third-tier League One and fourth-tier League Two and also runs the League Cup, currently sponsored by Carabao, and the EFL Trophy, for clubs from the bottom two divisions along with 16 Premier League and Championship academy teams, which is known as the Checkatrade Trophy.
Sky Sports has also agreed a new deal with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) for five seasons from 2020/21.
The SPFL did not give any financial details but Scottish media reports said it was worth 30 million pounds per season.
The deal sees BT Sport lose all of its rights to Scottish football as rival channel Premier Sports will exclusively broadcast between 12 and 16 Scottish League Cup (Betfred Cup) live matches and highlights per season.
BBC Scotland will continue to broadcast highlights of league matches.
($1 = 0.7778 pounds)
Reporting by Simon Evans; Additional reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris