Football League clubs meeting at St. George’s Park near Burton today have received a significant financial boost on two fronts with the news that The League has extended its current broadcasting agreement with Sky Sports and concluded a new ‘Solidarity’ agreement with the Premier League.
The Football League and Sky Sports have agreed a further one season extension to their existing domestic broadcasting agreement covering the 2018/19 season, with The League also having an option to extend the arrangement into 2019/20. The agreement, across its initial four seasons, is the most lucrative in The Football League’s history with 148 matches per season from the Sky Bet Football League, Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy being broadcast live on Sky Sports, along with highlights and clips from all three competitions. It also encompasses television, broadband internet, Sky On Demand and mobile services.
The Football League’s Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “Sky Sports have demonstrated, once again, their outstanding commitment to The Football League and its clubs. In extending this agreement we’ve delivered greater financial certainty to clubs for at least the next four seasons which I’m sure will be welcomed in boardrooms and by supporters across the country.”
Barney Francis, the Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: “We are pleased to extend our agreement with The Football League, and provide further security to the 72 clubs long into the future. Sky Sports viewers will have more of the drama and excitement that is part and parcel of The Football League and its cup competitions.
“The Football League is part of Sky Sports’ unrivaled schedule that includes Premier League, England cricket, The Ashes, three of golf’s four majors and Ryder Cup, England Rugby Union, F1 and many more of the sports that matter.”
Additionally, The Football League and Premier League have concluded a new 'rolling' Solidarity agreement that will see a proportion of Premier League television revenues re-distributed to Football League clubs from 2016/17. It provides the first contracted link between the broadcasting revenues of the two domestic professional leagues since the formation of the Premier League in 1992.
Under the agreement, parachute payments to relegated Premier League clubs will be reduced from the current four season to three seasons, with Championship clubs (that are not in receipt of parachute payments) being awarded a solidarity payment equivalent to 30% of a third-year parachute payment. League 1 and League 2 clubs will receive 4.5% and 3% of a third-year payment, respectively.
Football League Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “The eventual level of parachute and solidarity payments made to Football League clubs from 2016/17 will only be known once the Premier League has concluded the sale of its overseas rights. Nevertheless, given the scale of its domestic agreement, it seems reasonable to expect that the eventual amounts paid to Football League clubs will be substantially greater than those we’ve seen previously and could amount to more than £100m per season.
"This agreement is hugely significant for the domestic game, not just for The Football League, but also the Premier League and the England team, both of which benefit from a vibrant and financially sustainable set of clubs beneath the top division that will continue to invest in the players and managers of the future."