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ITV poised to acquire domestic rights to English FA Cup – report

UK commercial broadcaster ITV is reportedly on the verge of acquiring domestic rights to the FA Cup for the 2021-25 cycle.

The broadcaster will show up to 30 games per season under the deal, which is expected to be announced in the next few weeks, according to the Times newspaper.

It would be the first time the FA Cup was jointly broadcast by the UK’s two main free-to-air players for over thirty years after public broadcaster the BBC successfully acquired rights to the same broadcast cycle in March.

The BBC’s deal allows it to air up to 18 live matches each season across its linear and digital channels.

ITV and BBC would share live coverage of the final.

The FA launched its tender for FA Cup domestic rights on March 20. The tender was for 52 games split across five packages, including a newly-introduced ‘digital’ package.

The digital package comprised 24 matches per season. It is understood these matches include fixtures that would not have previously been shown on UK television.

The number of games reportedly acquired by ITV would suggest the broadcaster landed the four ‘traditional’ packages.

According to the Times, the FA’s priority in the tender was to increase exposure for the property, which was the basis for selecting a second free-to-air broadcaster rather than a pay-television channel.

The FA Cup is currently shown in the UK by the BBC and pay-TV broadcaster BT Sport. The two broadcasters have held the rights since 2014-15, with their current deals expiring in 2020-21.