EFL secures flexible streaming deal with Sky to allow more fans to watch behind-closed-doors matches
Sky Sports and the English Football League (EFL) have agreed on a new flexible framework that will ensure that all EFL matches are either available for broadcast or streaming while supporter access to stadiums is restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pay-TV broadcaster will show 130 live EFL league matches throughout season 2020-21, kicking-off with Watford vs Middlesbrough on Friday 11 September 2020 before another two fixtures are televised throughout the opening weekend.
And while the doors remain shut to fans, or with limited spectators allowed through the turnstiles, an arrangement will exist whereby all matches that are not live on Sky Sports will be available to stream by clubs on the iFollow services or the club’s own equivalent streaming platform.
In addition, season ticket holders at clubs will, under the newly agreed framework, be provided with access to watch all home games live, subject to the agreement of their club.
In the Championship access to away midweek matches will also be available as part of a season ticket package if clubs choose to offer it.
“It’s important that whilst the doors remain fully, or part shut, we ensure there is the ability for fans of all EFL Clubs to be able to gain access and watch their team.”
The match-by-match streaming and season ticket offer is a temporary measure that will only remain in place while clubs operate at a zero or reduced capacity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Discussing the arrangement, EFL chief executive David Baldwin said: “There is no argument that attending live matches is what the League, its Clubs and fans want to see and, clearly, the overriding objective is to get supporters back into stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, this framework allows our Clubs, if they so wish, to reward their most loyal supporters by providing what we hope is only short-term access to watch their matches.
“It’s important that whilst the doors remain fully, or part shut, we ensure there is the ability for fans of all EFL Clubs to be able to gain access and watch their team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sky Sports for their support in this matter. Collectively, it’s not our preferred situation but given the circumstances that COVID has presented us it gives us a temporary option whilst we finalise our plans for fans returning.”
Championship, League One and League Two clubs will be able to stream any match not shown live on Sky to fans who purchase individual match passes for a price of £10.
The 2020-21 EFL season starts on Friday 11 September