Premier League clubs back televised Saturday night football
Premier League clubs have unanimously backed prime-time televised Premier League football on Saturday nights from 2019-20.
The move, part of the next set of domestic broadcast rights, comes after the league told industry regulator Ofcom that it will increase the number of live matches available to broadcasters from 168 to at least 190 -- half of the season's 380 games.
But at a meeting in London the clubs gave the Premier League permission to sell up to 210 games a season, which will almost certainly include a package of games at 7:45 p.m. UK time on Saturdays, more games on bank holidays and more midweek games.
Press Association Sport reported that the commitment to not showing any live games in the UK between 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Saturdays would continue, but it is possible some televised games will go head-to-head or overlap.
An invitation to tender for the various packages of games via sealed bids will be made before the end of the year, with the winning bids chosen by the end of February.
The last two sales of domestic rights have seen 70 percent increases in their value, taking the total to £5.1 billion for the current three-year deal, which saw Sky Sports take the lion's share of games and BT settle for Saturday evening games.
Those two broadcasters are expected to compete for the majority of matches this time, but most analysts predict a much more modest increase in the total price.
It is hoped, however, that by selling more games at different time slots the league can surprise the market, particularly if new entrants such as Amazon or Facebook can be persuaded to bid for rights.
The Saturday prime-time slot has been discussed as an option for years but industry insiders have wondered whether it could backfire as it would mean Premier League football competing with popular entertainment TV shows.
But with BT, Sky, Virgin and others all now offering "multi-room" subscriptions, which enable customers to watch different programmes on different sets or devices at the same time, Press Association Sport reports that fears over provoking family fights for the remote control have subsided.