The BBC and BT Sport will continue to share coverage of the The FA Cup until 2021, after the broadcasters reached an agreement with the FA to extend their broadcast rights of the competition for another three years.
The Football Association has today confirmed the extension in a joint announcement which will see the most famous cup club competition in world football continue its coverage across the BBC and BT Sport.
The three-year extension to the existing £200m-plus deal, which was struck in 2013 and brought the world’s oldest knockout cup competition back to the BBC after seven years, is crucial for the increasingly cash-strapped corporation.
The BBC’s sports right budget has been a major target of the corporation’s cutbacks but it has targeted key events that it feels it needs to retain the broadcasting rights.
On the BBC, Gary Lineker will continue to lead presentation duties with the corporation’s traditional free-to-air coverage of each round of the competition. In addition, a personalised digital offering promises to bring audiences “closer to the action than ever before”.
BT Sport will broadcast more FA Cup matches than ever from 2018/19, when they will show an extra live match in Rounds 1-5 of the competition, covering up to 30 matches exclusively live each year.
From next season, fans will be able to enjoy enhanced FA Cup coverage in Ultra HD and on the innovative BT Sport app, with its market-leading functionality launched this season when BT Sport became the exclusive home of the UEFA Champions League. BT Sport will also continue as the home of FA Development football, covering England U17, U19 and U21 matches exclusively live on BT Sport.
The new deal will also see an enhanced commitment to women’s football from both the BBC and BT:
The BBC will offer live coverage of international qualifiers, the Women’s FA Cup final, plus one England Women’s friendly match per season alongside additional live matches and The FA Women’s Super League highlights.
BT Sport will remain the exclusively live broadcaster of The FA Women’s Super League and from 2018 will show both Women’s FA Cup semi-finals exclusively live, the Women’s FA Cup Final and England Senior Women’s home friendlies.