ITV Strikes Two-Year Deal To Continue Carrying FA Cup, England Home Games
ITV has struck a two-year, $138.4M (all figures U.S.) deal to "continue broadcasting the FA Cup and England home games, including home qualifiers for the next World Cup in Brazil," according to Mark Sweney of the GUARDIAN. ITV's current four-year, $423M contract was "due to expire at the end of this season." The new deal will "run until 2014." Sources said that ITV is understood to have paid about $69.2M a year -- "more than 30% less than the existing agreement." Under the terms of the new deal, ITV will "broadcast the first pick of FA Cup games throughout the season, including the final, as well as a range of third and fourth choice picks in various rounds." It will broadcast "up to 16 live games each season, as well as highlights of each round, and will also bring the pre-season FA Community Shield from Sky back to free-to-air TV." ITV will also broadcast "all home qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup ... and home and away friendlies over the two-year period of the new deal" (GUARDIAN, 1/17).
CHANGING ON THE GUARD: U.K. broadcaster Steve Rider, who has covered F1 for both the BBC and ITV, said Sky's long-term domination of the sport is "inevitable." He added an "irrevocable step has been taken" with the FI coverage plan in the U.K. The BBC this year will air half the races live, with the "other half as part of extended highlights programmes." Sky meanwhile will "show all 20 races live on a dedicated F1 channel." Rider said, "I'm not a cheerleader for Sky. Their involvement in F1 was inevitable. I think their long-term domination of F1 is also inevitable, whether it's four or five years away. For reasons that haven't been fully explained by the BBC, and that probably didn't need to happen, we now have this halfway deal in which Sky have been given the opportunity to dominate the sport" (Tom Cary, London TELEGRAPH, 1/17).