ITV and Sky have agreed in principle to split coverage of two English Football League (EFL) tournaments – the EFL Championship and the EFL Cup.

The free-to-air broadcaster (ITV) and pay-TV outlet (Sky Sports) will simulcast select Championship and EFL Cup fixtures, the latter known as the ‘Carabao Cup’ for sponsorship reasons.

Commencing in January 2025 in time for the EFL Cup semi-finals, the deal will run until the end of the 2026/27 season. Sky Sports will retain the full package for both tournaments, with certain matches broadcast on ITV during this timeframe.

ITV will cover one tie from each of the first four EFL Cup rounds, an additional fixture from either the third or fourth round, two quarter-final matches, a semi-final match and the final. 

The deal expands the broadcaster’s partnership with the EFL, with it being a long-term provider of highlights coverage.

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “This deal brings viewers free-to-air coverage of top-level knockout football over the coming years, as well as standout matches from the EFL, adding regular live matches to our highlights shows. 

“We’re looking forward to bringing fans some superb action and insight from this new, fuller EFL package across the next few seasons.”

As well as gaining select EFL Cup and Championship games, ITV will retain its position as the main free-to-air highlights broadcaster of the tournament – this agreement will also be extended.

From the 2024/25 season, ITV will broadcast 55 highlights per season. These programmes will be shown on its ITV1 and ITV4 channels, with streaming and on-demand viewing available via ITVX.

The deal closely follows the expansion of Sky’s long-standing agreement with the EFL for the next five years, with the broadcaster now set to showcase over 1,000 matches per season.

Sky’s new channel, Sky+, will play a key role in the arrangement. The deal means that every League One and League Two team will be shown on Sky at least 20 times in 2024/25, and every Championship team at least 24 times.

Jonathan Licht, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: “This momentous upcoming season of over 1,000 matches from the EFL on Sky Sports+ shows our huge ambition and increased dedication to the EFL and its supporters. 

“Working with a free-to-air broadcaster isn’t new for us and many of our partners, as we endeavour to help grow and broaden audiences for sports.

“With ITV set to simulcast a select number of matches from the EFL from 2025 alongside Sky Sports full coverage, it means that millions of football fans in the UK will be able to enjoy plenty of action from the Cup and League, boosting the exposure for clubs which is great news for all.”

The deal further extends the visibility of the EFL at a time when the league seeks to strengthen its domestic and international reach. Back in March, the league partnered with Pitch International and Relevent Sports in a four-year deal to take its matches to a worldwide audience.

On the ITV and Sky deals, Trevor Birch, EFL CEO, said: “We’re delighted to continue a long-standing relationship with ITV, in partnership with Sky Sports, to deliver an added showcasing of the best of the EFL to a wider audience. 

“We want the EFL to be accessible to as many audiences as possible, and this extra offering, with no additional subscription required, only enhances our reputation. I’d like to thank both organisations for their ongoing support and genuine commitment to all EFL competitions.”

The partnership is notable for being in stark contrast to a similar joint-broadcast agreement penned for the FA Cup. Whilst the ITV-Sky deal marks an expansion of the EFL Cup’s FTA visibility, the FA’s deal with TNT Sports and the BBC has limited this visibility for the FA Cup.

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