BBC partners with TNT Sports in new deal to broadcast FA Cup

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

The BBC and TNT Sports have reached an agreement to broadcast the FA Cup over the next four years. 

TNT Sports was announced as the primary broadcast rights holder for the FA Cup, beginning from the 2025-26 season. However, the UK broadcaster was mandated by the FA to make an agreement with a free-to-air network. 

The BBC and ITV – both free-to-air broadcasters – had shared FA Cup broadcasting rights for the last three years, but it was the former that TNT Sports struck a deal with. 

Shared broadcasting means that both broadcasters will be able to showcase FA Cup matches from the opening rounds of the competition, followed by a selection of quarter-finals matches, a semi-final match each and both airing the final on their respective platforms. 

Furthermore, all FA Cup fixtures that do not kick-off during the 3pm blackout will all be televised live for the first time from 2025 to 2029. 

It is likely that the BBC will also gain highlight broadcast rights as part of the package, being able to showcase these on Match of the Day. 

Retaining the rights for the FA Cup will be hugely important for the national broadcaster as it has broadcasted football’s oldest cup competition since 1938, airing the first ever televised FA Cup game between Preston North End and Huddersfield Town in the final. 

Whilst shared broadcast of the cup competition between a free-to-air and paid TV station isn’t a new concept, the £264m deal the FA struck with TNT Sports was heavily criticised by football fans across the UK. 

Subscriptions to paid TV services to watch football in the UK is mounting, with Sky Sports and TNT Sports charging monthly fees to watch the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, whilst the influx of multiple streaming services acquiring broadcast rights for sports has increased tenfold over the past several years. 

The FA has maintained that the £264m deal with TNT Sports is an important revenue stream for the organisation, which will be used to help support grassroots football initiatives across the country. 

On the announcement of the TNT Sports deal, Mark Bullingham, FA Chief Executive, stated: “The Emirates FA Cup is our crown jewel, and it helps us to provide vital investment across every level of English football, supporting clubs, communities, facilities and the wider grassroots game. 

“Every season, and across every round, The Emirates FA Cup creates incredible moments and unforgettable memories for fans.

“TNT Sports are an outstanding broadcaster with an impressive record of showing some of the biggest and best sporting events around the world, so we are delighted to be working with them on our shared commitment and long-term vision that will ensure the Emirates FA Cup continues to thrive over the coming years.”

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