English Premiership

Friday night lights for EPL

2014-12-12 20:06
EPL TV crew (Getty Images)
London - English Premier League games will be played on Friday nights from the 2016-17 season, emulating German, Spanish and French competitions.

The new slot was included in the bidding documents for the 2016-19 television rights, issued on Friday to British broadcasters, who can show only 168 of the 380 games live.

There are seven packages of rights, five with 28 games and two with 14 games. The existing Monday night package will add Friday night games for the first time, potentially giving Champions League participants longer to prepare for European matches.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho earlier this year called on the football authorities to change the fixture schedule to accommodate European commitments.

"If we played on Friday night, @ 7:45, it makes a difference to who? Less spectators ... I don't think so," Mourinho said.

"It'd be a full house, the same. And for television? It wouldn't make a difference. If it was the only match on TV, the (audience) share would be fantastic.

"Would it be good for Chelsea? Yes. Would it be good for English football? Yes."

The auction is set to make clubs in the wealthiest domestic soccer competition even richer. In the auction for the 2013-2016 rights, the league received around £5.5 billion for the television rights, with just over £3 billion pounds coming from Sky and BT to show 154 live games in total each season domestically.

Sky has held most of the domestic rights since the Premier League's inception in 1992, helping Rupert Murdoch's operation become the dominant pay TV broadcaster in Britain.

The league is yet to open the bidding for foreign broadcasters, who can show all 380 games each season live.

The domestic auction has started despite Britain's broadcasting watchdog currently investigating a complaint from Virgin Media, which is owned by US cable TV operator Liberty Global, that only 41 percent of matches are shown live in Britain.

The new auction is making 44 percent of games available in Britain, although a single broadcaster can only buy 126 of the 168 matches.

Most games are played on Saturdays at 15:00, and those cannot be shown live in Britain - a system meant to ensure that fans are not dissuaded from attending stadiums.

Read more on:    english premiership  |  soccer

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