FA suffers big cut in ITV deal

The English Football Association has taken a cut of over 40 per cent in its fee for domestic free-to-air rights for the FA Cup, England matches and the Community Shield in the deal announced this week with ITV.

The broadcaster has agreed to pay just over £42 million (€51 million/$64 million) per season in the two seasons 2012-13 and 2013-14, down from over £73 million per season at present.

The broadcaster’s current deal, for the four years from 2008-09 to 2011-12, was agreed in the spring of 2007 before the recession hit. It includes rights it picked up when pay-television operator Setanta went bust in 2009, after one season of the rights cycle. Pay-television broadcasters BSkyB and ESPN also each picked up some of Setanta’s rights.

Under the new agreement, ITV will continue to have exclusive rights for the first pick of FA Cup games each round, the third pick in rounds five and six, and the fourth pick in rounds three and four. The broadcaster will also continue to have exclusive rights for the first pick of replays from the third to the sixth rounds.

ESPN has pay-television rights for FA Cup matches – as well as U-21 international, B international and women’s national team matches – in a four-year deal from 2010-11 to 2013-14.

ITV’s new deal covers all competitive and friendly home England national team matches and friendly away matches.

The deal also includes the Community Shield and FA Youth Cup matches. BSkyB has the rights for the Community Shield – the annual match between the winner of the FA Cup and the winner of the Premier League – in a deal ending this season. Six matches from the FA Youth Cup, including the semi-finals and final, will be shown live on digital channel ITV4.