Sky Sports and Football League agree £195m deal

Birmingham City players celebrate after winning the 2011 Carling Cup
Image caption From 2012-13, Sky will have exclusive rights to the Carling Cup Final, currently also shown on the BBC

The Football League has signed a three-year deal with Sky Sports, giving the broadcaster exclusive rights to show live matches from the 2012-13 season.

The deal, worth £195m, marks a drop from the current £264m agreement with Sky and the BBC.

Football League chairman Greg Clarke said it had been a challenging climate to negotiate in.

The BBC said that it had been unable to make a competitive bid for live broadcast rights.

Under the new agreement, Sky Sports will broadcast 75 matches from across the Npower Football League, the play-offs including all three finals, 15 matches from the Carling Cup including both legs of each semi-final and the final, the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and at least two matches from the preceding rounds.

Sky will also show match highlights.

The Football League said it was in ongoing discussions with broadcasters regarding free-to-air highlights.

'Lack of competition'

The BBC currently has first pick to show 10 live Championship matches a season, as well as two legs of the semi-finals and shared live coverage of the Carling Cup Final.

But a spokesman said: "Given the current financial climate and the internal strategic review being carried out through Delivering Quality First, we were not in a position to be able to make a competitive bid for the Football League live TV broadcast rights.

"We look forward to continuing our coverage of the Football League to the end of the 2011-2012 season when our contract expires."

League chairman Mr Clarke said: "This has been a challenging climate in which to negotiate television rights, given the state of the economy and the lack of competitive tension in the sports broadcasting market.

"I am confident that our clubs will take heart from seeing such a significant ongoing investment in their competitions, despite a reduced level of broadcasting income, as it provides financial certainty in uncertain times."

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