The Premier League has decided to schedule Friday night games for the first time, meaning more league football will be televised than ever before beginning in the 2016-17 season, Sportsmail reported Friday.
The first tenders for matches in 2016-19 were issued to domestic broadcasters on Friday, revealing that beginning in August 2016, 168 matches will be made available to TV partners. In the auction for 2013-16 matches, 154 were made available, and BT and Sky paid more than 3 billion pounds ($4.7 billion).
Under the new offer for the 2016-19 matches, seven packages are up for sale: five with 28 games two with 14. No broadcaster will be able to buy more than 126 matches.
According to Sportsmail, the TV deals are expected to be completed in February. Tenders have yet to be made available to foreign broadcasters, who will be able to show all 380 matches live each season.
The Premier League has also opened the market for its free-to-air highlight package, which has been held by the BBC's Match of the Day since 2004. A later auction will also be held for 212 "near-live" matches for on-demand access and Internet clips.
- Mike Fiammetta