EFL agrees £595m Sky deal but Championship clubs aren’t happy

November 20 – The deadline set by the English Football League (EFL) for its dissident Championship clubs to come up with an alternative TV deal beating the £595 million offer from Sky Sports passed yesterday.

The EFL announced it had agreed the Sky deal that will see 138 league matches a season as well as every play-off game and the Carabao Cup final aired by the broadcaster. The decision was taken by the nine-member EFL board, that includes representatives of three Championship clubs, Reading, Brentford and Bristol City.

But the signing of the deal will deepen the rift between the EFL and the bulk of its Championship clubs who feel they should be getting more money, in particular for live games.

Clubs are due to meet today with the BBC reporting that 21of the 24 Championship clubs were against the deal including Leeds United (owned by Andrea Radrizzani who also owns the Eleven Sports channel), Aston Villa and Derby County. Radrizzani was previously a principal in the TV sports rights agency MP & Silva which went spectacularly bankrupt at the end of the summer.

The new five-year deal with Sky is worth £119 million annually from the start of the 2024 season, compared to the £90 million value of the current contract.

Championship clubs will get £2.95 million each per season, with a further £17.7 million allocated via appearance fees. But the breakaway clubs argue they should be getting double that figure.

League One and League Two clubs had already given their backing to the deal which would see their payments increase increased from a basic £708,000 and £492,000 respectively to £884,000 and £613,000 per season.

The number of matches screened live by Sky will rise from the present 138 per season, plus play-offs, to 183 under the new deal and another 80 via the red button. The deal includes matches in the Carabao Cup, whose value as an EFL competition is that it includes Premier League clubs.

EFL interim chair Debbie Jevans said in a statement: “Concluding these negotiations has indeed been challenging, as is the case when managing a diverse group of stakeholders, and the board took on board the comments and frustrations voiced by a number of clubs and has committed to reviewing the way the League engages with its clubs to ensure that we move forward in a collaborative way in the future.”

Whether you view the deal a good one or not depends a lot on projections of what the increasingly disrupted broadcast market night look like in 2024. EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey was of the opinion that Sky offered the best platform for the growth of the league as well as financial security.

“The deal we have entered into with Sky, after fully testing the current market through our external advisors, allows our clubs the benefit of financial security which was an absolute priority for us throughout this process,” he said.

“It is a partnership that, as well as having the necessary financial benefits, provides the EFL with the platform to maximise reach and exposure for its competitions, alongside providing further opportunities for clubs to monetise some of those games not broadcast on television through a DTC offering.”

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