Premier League broadcasts set to continue
As the UK’s third nationwide lockdown carries on, the Premier League has announced its decision to keep providing televised coverage of every match.
This news comes after the previous decision by Richard Masters, the league’s Chief Executive, to continue playing games behind closed doors for the rest of the season.
Spectators were able to go back to stadiums in a limited capacity of up to 2,000 in December, but this was changed following a surge in COVID-19 cases which caused the UK government to carry out yet another nationwide lockdown.
“The Premier League and its clubs are committed to an accessible solution for fans,” a statement by the Premier League read. “These plans have been made with the cooperation of our broadcast partners, working with us to deliver these additional matches while stadiums are missing the supporters who are such an integral part of the game.”
Previous plans in late 2020 to offer Premier League matches as part of a pay-per-view deal were strongly opposed by fans, many of whom donated the £14.99 fee required to watch specific matches to different charitable causes, such as local food banks. This time around, coverage will instead be provided by the league’s four primary broadcasters – Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and the BBC – from the 30th of January until the end of February.
West Bromwich Albion’s match against Fulham will be the only match of the third lockdown to be broadcast on the free-to-air BBC and its iPlayer on-demand service. Both clubs are trying to avoid relegation, having only been promoted last season.
In the meantime, Sky Sports’ latest coverage of the 0-0 match between title contenders and fierce rivals Manchester United and Liverpool broke the broadcasters viewership record, drawing in an audience of about 4.5 million.