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EFL and Sky ‘in talks’ to expand clubs’ live streaming into 2020-21

The English Football League and its domestic broadcaster, Sky, are reportedly in talks to allow clubs to livestream all matches on their own websites in the 2020-21 season.

The initiative was originally agreed for the post-Covid 19 lockdown denouement to the English second-tier Championship’s 2019-20 season. This saw 78 live matches not broadcast by Sky made available to clubs for season ticket holders to watch without charge or for a fee of £10 (€11/$13) to other fans.

Last season’s agreement would now been extended to the English third-tier League One and fourth-tier League Two and would cover all live matches for the forthcoming season, including fixtures that kick-off at 3pm on Saturdays.

Pay-television broadcaster Sky is reportedly not seeking any financial compensation and the agreement would remain in place until the UK government permits at least 50 per cent occupancy rates at stadiums.

Fans are not expected to return to venues until October at the earliest and only at an occupancy rate significantly below the 50-per-cent threshold.

The deal would help EFL clubs cope with the financial challenges they are facing as a result of the absence of gate-ticketing receipts.

According to UK newspaper the Daily Mail, streaming fees for the Championship matches would be retained by the home club, while a revenue-share would be employed for League One and League Two clubs due to the wider variability in their fanbases.

Sky has already agreed a live-streaming deal with the Scottish Professional Football League, which will allow those clubs to show home matches in 2020-21 that would not otherwise have been broadcast on UK television.