PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHES TO BE BROADCAST FREE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER

The BBC will broadcast four live matches when the Premier League returns next month – the first time in 32 years that the public-service broadcaster will show top-flight football live.   

It is also the first time ever that the Premier League will have matches live on free terrestrial television, as it was confirmed that all 92 remaining games will be live on UK television.  

The news comes after the Premier League announced on Thursday that football in the UK will return on Wednesday, June 17, with Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal the first fixtures to be played. 

The Premier League announced that all 92 remaining matches will be broadcast live in the UK by the League’s existing broadcast partners – Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime – given games will take place behind closed doors. 

The BBC will air four live games – currently unknown – alongside their usual weekly highlights Match of the Day programme. 

Sky Sports will broadcast 64 of the remaining 92 games, with 25 to be made freely available – including Everton vs Liverpool on the first weekend back. 

The 25 free-to-air games on Sky will be made available via Sky’s ‘Pick’ channel and simulcast on Sky Sports. 

BT Sport will show a total of 20 live matches, while streaming service Amazon Prime will also show four live games. 

In addition, planned kick-off times in the UK for live matches will also differ from traditional times (see right). 

There are four different time-slots on a Saturday and Sunday stretching from 12pm-8pm, as well as 6pm kick-off times for midweek games. 

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: ‘Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.

‘The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.’  

Director of BBC Sport, Barbara Slater said: ‘This opportunity creates an historic moment for the BBC and our audiences. At a time when sports fans across the country are in need of lift, this is very welcome news. 

‘We are delighted and excited to have the chance to show live Premier League games on the BBC. 

‘This will offer audiences, who haven’t had the opportunity in the past, live , free to air access to the best football league in the world, as the BBC continues to keep the country entertained during these unprecedented times.’ 

When the Premier League returns next month, a number of innovative new features, ‘to give fans an even more immersive experience’, will also be launched by Sky Sports as the Premier League’s leading broadcast partner. 

A BT Sport statement on Thursday read: ‘We’re delighted to see the provisional plan to restart the Premier League next month. Should all proceed safely, we look forward to broadcasting 20 Premier League games to our BT Sport customers.’

-Daily Mail