The Premier League in England has agreed to renew its five-billion-pound (seven-billion-dollar) domestic television deal.
It is a move which provides greater financial certainty to clubs at all levels amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The English top-flight sought and secured Government approval in principle to roll over its existing rights agreements with Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport.
This is for a further three years, through to 2025.
Under normal circumstances the rights would have been contested in an open tender, but the league was able to demonstrate “exceptional and compelling reasons” to the Government.
This is for it to agree to an exclusion order under the Competition Act and go ahead with a private sale.
The renewal of the deal means the Premier League’s current commitment of 1.5 billion pounds to the football pyramid over the three years of the next rights cycle can be maintained.
This is with an additional 100 million pounds to be distributed over the next four years.
The deal is a huge boost to the Premier League, at a time when the value of broadcasting rights has generally been in decline around the world.
The league’s chief executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League will like to express our gratitude to our broadcast partners for their continued commitment to the Premier League and support for the football pyramid.
“We are hugely appreciative of the Government agreeing in principle to allow this arrangement and for their continued support for the Premier League and the English game.
“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on football, and renewals with our UK broadcast partners will reduce uncertainty, generate stability and promote confidence within the football pyramid.
“We know that, once concluded, this will have a positive impact on the wider industry, jobs and tax revenues.
”It will also enable us to maintain and increase our existing solidarity and community financial commitments to the football pyramid for the next four years, even though we are yet to understand the full impact of the pandemic.
“It comes at an important time and will enable us to plan ahead with increased certainty against a more stable economic backdrop.”
The agreement means 200 matches a season will continue to be broadcast live – 128 on Sky, 52 on BT and 20 on Amazon.
There is one change from the previous agreement though.
This is if a team due to be involved in a 12.30pm Saturday match on BT is involved in a Champions League match on the Wednesday before.
The domestic match will move to a 7.45pm Saturday slot instead.
Marc Allera, the chief executive of BT’s consumer division, said: “Throughout this difficult year the Premier League and broadcasters have all worked together to find pro-active solutions to ensure the Premier League, and the lower leagues, have a safe and secure way out of the pandemic.
“This in principle renewal of our broadcast rights is great for our viewers, but also helps to provide vital support for the broader football community that relies on the Premier League.
“The fantastic news for our viewers is that, once the deal is concluded, they will be able to continue to enjoy the Premier League alongside the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League exclusively live on BT Sport.”