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EXCLUSIVE: Channel 5 agrees three-year Monday Night Football deal in UK

UK commercial broadcaster Channel 5 has agreed a three-year deal for rights to the NFL’s Monday Night Football, SportBusiness understands.

The deal is non-exclusive and runs from 2020 to 2022. Channel 5 will also broadcast a weekly magazine programme on Sunday mornings aimed at younger audiences, which will run through the season.

The agreement is expected to be formally announced tomorrow (Tuesday). The first instalment of Monday Night Football for the new season is on September 14.

Channel 5’s owner, ViacomCBS, and the NFL reached agreement in direct negotiations.

The NFL’s new deal follows the renewal last month of its main rights agreement in the UK with pay-television broadcaster Sky for a further five years, from 2020 to 2024. Sky has launched a dedicated NFL channel as part of the new agreement.

Sky has rights to a minimum of five live games per week; the first-pick exclusive Sunday night games at 6pm and 9pm; all playoff, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl games live; every Thursday Night, Sunday Night and Monday Night Football; and other highlights and ancillary programming.

In the previous cycle, the NFL also had a non-exclusive deal with public-service broadcaster the BBC for the Super Bowl and London Series matches. The BBC’s inventory also included a weekly highlights programme.

This was the rights-holder’s only free-to-air deal in the UK at the time.

It is not yet clear whether the BBC will renew its rights. However, it is understood commercial broadcaster ITV is not a competitor in the new cycle.

Amazon holds non-exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football in the UK through a global deal with the league until 2022.

The NFL also shows games in the UK through its subscription-based Game Pass OTT service, which launched in its current form in 2015. Subscribers outside North America have access to live pre-season, regular-season, and post-season games.