November 9 – The next two European championships will remain free to the general public after UK public-service broadcaster the BBC and commercial broadcaster ITV agreed to continue to share the rights.
The BBC and ITV will split the rights to both tournaments equally. The two broadcasters will get different picks, but the two finals of Euro 2024 and Euro 2028 will be aired by both. The agreement adds to the trend of Euro and World Cup matches made available free-to-air in the United Kingdom. The BBC and ITV also share the rights for the World Cup in Qatar, which will kick off on November 20.
ITV’s director of sport Niall Slone, said: “This deal keeps the Euros available on free-to-air television for viewers for the coming years. Having delivered the biggest ever UK single channel football audience of 27.6 million at last year’s Euros, for England’s semi-final victory over Denmark, we’re looking forward to bringing to the widest audiences the very best coverage of tournaments that have such broad appeal.”
More than a decade ago, both UEFA and FIFA failed at the European General Court to reverse the UK’s free-to-air protection for all matches at the men’s European championship and World Cup.
The importance of free-to-air matches cannot be underestimated in terms of the popularity of the game and showpiece matches experienced as cultural and historical events with last year’s European Championship final between England and Italy serving as an example. For that match, the BBC and ITV pulled in the largest television audience in the UK since the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.
Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater added: “The BBC has proven time and again that we have the ability to bring the biggest sporting events to the widest audience. The previous UEFA European Championships were a huge success so we’re delighted that we’ve completed this deal for the next two tournaments that we hope will provide even more memorable moments for viewers.”
Germany will stage Euro 2024 while UEFA still has to appoint a host for the 2028 finals, which is expected to be played in the current 24-team format.
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