AHEAD OF THE GAME: Broadcasters to be offered extra incentive in next TV deal as they will be able to buy further matches that weren’t originally scheduled to be televised
- Broadcasters will be given the chance to buy extra Premier League matches
- Fans and TV stations have been left frustrated when games were rescheduled
- Insiders predict games in tender will go up from 200 to between 260 and 280
The Premier League plan to give broadcasters the opportunity to buy extra matches not originally scheduled to be televised in the next rights cycle from 2025 to 2028, as part of a big increase in the number of games to be shown on TV.
Fans and TV stations have been left frustrated on several occasions this season when big games which were rescheduled went untelevised despite vacant broadcast slots.
Manchester United’s midweek games against Brentford and Leeds were not shown live after being rescheduled, while on the FA Cup quarter-final weekend in March, Sky Sports were left without a Sunday afternoon fixture due to the draw and were not permitted to show Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace despite it kicking off in their 2pm broadcast slot.
As reported by Mail Sport at the time, a number of clubs expressed frustration at what they regard as an outdated system of allotting matches, which the Premier League will recognise by including a way to buy extra games when they launch their next UK rights tender in October.
The top flight are also expected to follow the EFL’s example by selling far more matches for the 2025-26 to 2027-28 seasons, with insiders predicting the number in the tender will increase from 200 to between 260 and 280.
The Premier League plan to give broadcasters the opportunity to buy extra matches
Manchester United’s midweek games against Brentford and Leeds were not shown live
The clash between Arsenal and Crystal Palace in March was also not broadcast live
With the 2.45pm to 5.15pm blackout to remain, such an increase would result in an average of just three Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on Saturdays across the competition’s 34 weekend rounds.
TEN HAG REVIVES FERGIE CUSTOM
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reinstated one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s traditions of inviting club directors inside the dressing room after every match irrespective of the result.
Chief executive Richard Arnold has also encouraged the move and makes sure one or two board members — often David Gill and Michael Edelson — visit the dressing room after every fixture to offer congratulations or commiserations to the players.
The idea is to promote a greater sense of unity throughout the club, and it appears to have gone down well with staff and players.
Erik ten Hag has revived the tradition of inviting club directors into the dressing room
BLADES HUNGARY TO PARTY ON
Paul Heckingbottom has taken his Sheffield United coaching staff to Budapest for the weekend to celebrate the club’s promotion to the Premier League.
The Blades backroom team carried on celebrating following an open-top bus parade in Sheffield on Thursday by flying off to Hungary yesterday, with Heckingbottom keen to thank them for their hard work during a rewarding season in which they finished second in the Championship despite being hit by a transfer embargo.
Paul Heckingbottom has taken his Sheffield United coaching staff to Hungary to celebrate
READING OFFICIALS UNIMPRESSED WITH INCE
Reading officials were unimpressed by Paul Ince’s jocular manner when covering Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat by Brighton for Sky Sports last Thursday, the same night the Championship club were relegated to League One.
Ince was in charge at Reading until last month when he was sacked after they dropped into the bottom three with five games to go, so has a good deal of responsibility for their relegation.
The former United midfielder appeared in a carefree mood at the Amex Stadium, however, even accepting a bottle of wine from Ten Hag as an apology for not inviting him for a drink following Reading’s FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford in January.
Reading officials were unimpressed with Paul Ince’s jocular manner on Sky Sports
POLICE FACE ANXIOUS WAIT OVER PLAY-OFFS
The Metropolitan Police will be anxiously monitoring the Championship play-offs this weekend in the hope of avoiding Middlesbrough and Sunderland making it through to the final at Wembley on Saturday May 27.
Newcastle are also in London that weekend as they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the final round of league fixtures on the Sunday, and having supporters of all three North East clubs in the capital over a Bank Holiday would lead to potential public order issues and a big drain on police resources.
Sunderland begin their play-off campaign at home against Luton on Saturday evening, with Middlesbrough at Coventry on Sunday lunchtime.
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