Report: BBC to retain Match of the Day rights beating out ITV

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

The BBC will reportedly once again be the home of Match of the Day as the broadcaster has beat out ITV and its terrestrial competitors for the Premier League highlights package. 

The Daily Mail revealed that the BBC was the preferred bidder during the tender bidding process which involved interest from ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, but the three broadcasters withdrew due to the lack of advertising and commercial incentives. 

The BBC will likely now retain the rights to the free-to-air Premier League highlights show from 2025 onwards – when the current deal ends – for the next four years. 

Match of the Day has become a landmark British sports show and also the longest running football TV shows in the world since it first aired on the BBC in 1964. 

However, ITV’s interest is not the first time the UK TV network had interest in taking the Premier League highlights package away from BBC, having done it in 1988 – before the English top-flight league was rebranded as the Premier League – and also from 2001 – 2004 when it held the exclusive highlights rights. 

ITV held “exploratory” talks with the Premier League according to the Daily Mail before deciding not to bid, citing an unnecessary shift in its Saturday night programming and the lack of commercial value the domestic highlights package holds now in the current streaming age. 

Channel 4 and Channel 5 also did not see much room for advertising and commercial growth due to the 10:30pm start time of the Premier League highlights show as TV viewership of Match of the Day has dwindled considerably over the past decade. 

This is largely down to the explosion of streaming in the sports and football worlds, which BBC highlighted with significantly more viewers on its iPlayer streaming service for Match of the Day than ever before. 

Rival broadcasters also highlighted that Premier League highlights for Saturday 3pm blackout games are more readily available than ever before due to short highlights packages of all goals in games being published on YouTube after 5:15pm. 

The changing Premier League fixture list also proved to be another factor that put off other broadcasters as the next domestic broadcast rights deal is expected to show fewer Saturday games. 

With more live games to be broadcasted at 2:00pm on Sundays moving forward, broadcasters were not inclined to pay for two separate highlights shows – which BBC runs Match of the Day 2 on Sundays – due to the factors also previously mentioned. 

BBC will now host Match of the Day until 2029 as the TV network will also more than likely look to renew host Gary Linekar’s contract which expires in 2025.

Previous articlePGA Tour cuts potential investors list to only five 
Next articleEddie Lewis: David Beckham’s arrival brought seismic shift to MLS