Just when you think things can’t get any worse, the FSA has just informed the Canaries Trust of the details of the EFL broadcast deal for 2024 – 9.
Inevitably, these show a significant increase in the number of games that will be shown, because why would you want to leave your comfy armchair and go out in the cold to watch actual live football?
From the 2024-25 season, Sky Sports will now broadcast a minimum of:
• 328 Sky Bet Championship matches
• 248 Sky Bet League One matches
• 248 Sky Bet League Two matches
• All 15 Play-Off matches
• All 93 Carabao Cup matches
• All 127 EFL Trophy matches
Each league weekend fixture round will see 10 live EFL fixtures shown – five from the Sky Bet Championship and five from the Sky Bet League One and League Two. Every match from the Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy will also be available.
All opening, final day, and midweek fixtures in the Sky Bet EFL will be shown live as will all games played on Bank Holidays including Easter, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day alongside the matches played in Sky Bet League One and Two during international breaks.
This will see a substantial increase in the number of games moved from Saturday 3:00 pm. Every weekend, 5 out of every 12 Championship games will now be moved from that 3:00 pm slot for TV as well as 5 League 1 and 2 games. A total of 10 in total.
There are approximately 32 weekend fixture rounds per season, Easter and Christmas dates notwithstanding, which would equate to 300+ games being moved from Saturday at 3:00pm. It’s a massive increase as the last deal was 138 EFL games per season including midweek fixtures.
There will be a big media income increase from £595m for 5 years to £935m over the same time period, which is good news for clubs but not for fans, other than armchair ones.
The EFL say there will be “increased notice for fans” but they don’t define what that is. As we know all too well, there are supposed to be deadlines for Sky to announce kick-off time changes well in advance to help fans arrange transport and/or hotels, but these are routinely overstepped.
This is a nightmare for fans, particularly those relying on train services, whose advance booking systems create a double-whammy, in that early booking secures cheaper fares, but if you then have to cancel and rebook due to a kick-off change you are hit with a whopping “administration” fee.
It also stands to reason that Sky will prioritise its Premier League coverage over that of the Championship. As we know from our brief stays in the top division, the casual breach of deadlines also happens there, which would mean that those delays will cascade down to EFL giving fans even less notice.
The EFL statement also references a new EFL/Sky streaming service to replace the iFollow/red button services, but no details have been announced, and it can only be hoped that any future provision is an improvement on the current offering, which is completely unfit for purpose with pictures blurring, no replays and a commentator working from a location miles away from the ground.
The broadcast deal is already an agenda item for the forthcoming EFL dialogue meeting, but the FSA will be looking to speak to the EFL about this as a matter of urgency.
The fact is that these changes will further alter the way fans can access live football and annoy and inconvenience EFL football fans everywhere.
If the football and TV authorities want to keep football as a live spectacle with a proper atmosphere, they need to seriously work together to investigate all the negative as well as positive impacts of these changes and look at possible solutions to problems that are effectively self-made.
My first thought is, which 202 League Two games are Sky going to pick that aren’t Wrexham?
The streaming channels thing will be interesting. And I’m guessing probably expensive. They won’t put more money into the game without trying to scrape it back from the consumer.
John Higgins says
I used Canaries TV this year but there were so many blacklisted games we were not (legally) allowed to watch. This probably means that there will be even more games on the blacklist making Canaries TV even worse value that it is already. Shame really as it drives people to the illegal streams and denies the club some income.
David Bowers says
“because why would you want to leave your comfy armchair and go out in the cold to watch actual live football”
“The fact is that these changes will further alter the way fans can access live football and annoy and inconvenience EFL football fans everywhere.”
“which is good news for clubs but not for fans, other than armchair ones.”
What an incorrect, insular, and backwards viewpoint.
This is fantastic news for the club (who drastically need the revenues) and every fan who can’t attend games, be it due to location, finances, health, or god forbid a pandemic (how quickly we forget).
It’s odd that The Chairman of The Canaries Trust ignores that Norwich has 900K Facebook fans, nearly 900K Twitter followers, and only 25K seats in the ground. Odd that fans such as Gary and Martin who have been unable to attend games are labelled “armchair fans”. Odd, but not surprising.
Robin Sainty says
As ever you’re completely wrong. While I appreciate you feel the need to shout down everyone else the fact is that the extra TV revenue is not going to cover the inevitable drops in demand for tickets which will result in clubs having to cut prices to try to keep attendance up and food and drink sales suffering if attendances drop . Please feel free to be as abusive to me as you like, but I do actually research these things as does the FSA. You might also like to ring the Head of Ticketing who has told me exactly the same thing. But hey, who needs experts?
David Bowers says
Robin, as always, you are completely wrong.
Firstly, do you not have anything to say about your demeaning comments of those that can’t attend games?
Secondly, over the past decade Norwich have sold our nearly every game, while maintaining or increasing ticket prices season-on-season. All the while TV coverage has continued to grow in size of market, number of games shown, and revenue generated. Your scaremongering is simply not reflected in what we’ve seen..
Lastly, while this may not be the popular opinion, for the last decade combined gate receipts were about 90M quid (or about 9M per season). Total. TV revenues for one season can be over 100M in the PL. Even in a Championship season with no parachute payments, TV revenues match gate receipts. The club exists today because of TV revenues (aka arm chair fans).
Since ground capacity isn’t growing , we don’t want ticket prices to rise, and the club runs at a deficit, I don’t see how you conclude this is bad.
Here’s some simple math for you.
Let’s say they show 10 Norwich games and they’re all at 3pm and TV revenues (before new increases) are 9M (as per the 2019 season). That means each game is worth 900K.
Let’s say not a single soul shows up for those games. Home receipts for a season are 9M for 23 games. That means each home game is worth 400K in gate receipts.
In short, financially every game shown is more valuable to the club. Of course the game will be full, or near full, as evidenced by the past decade. So the reality is they may (but probably won’t) lose 100K on receipts, but gain 900K from TV revenues.
And to note, calling the head of ticket sales would only provide me with a small, incorrect view.
You need to talk to the Finance Director.
Yes; because he’s the one who blames the fans for the current predicament of our club.
O T B C
Can City apply to have any forth owing money paid early to offset a £65m blackhole
No seriously the extra funds will help clubs that are already living beyond their means to offset debts and carry on as usual
I did read Robin that the 3pm slot could also become available.
Many supporters live to far away to get to home games especially those of my age 72 and enjoy the football on TV and it becomes a family thing in my household as we support different clubs in different leagues most of the time and will watch everyone’s games.
Having Fleetwood, Blackpool and PNE in a 25mile radius I would often watch City if they were playing away, Burnley, Bolton and Blackburn were also options but age and expenses have stopped those.
I would hope that Sky will give something to the Beeb to show for those that don’t have the access to their channels
Robin Sainty says
Losing the 3pm blackout would certainly help but doesn’t appear to be on the table currently Alex.
The improved TV money should theoretically help clubs but could be offset by losses in gate (and by extension food and drink sales) if attendances frop (a particulatr danger in the lower leagues. Clubs are really worried about this.
By the way, my comment about armchair fans wasn’t aimed at genuine fans who for whatever reason can’t physically get to games, but rather the post Sky generation who simply can’t be bothered (and often have no real allegiance to any club). That’s what will kill the game.
I agree about the so call armchair fans that have no alligence it’s what my wife call the pick brigade they only support a clubwhen it does well and swap to another when it isn’t.
Had there been any confirmation that Sky has won the contract for the Premier League? Weren’t there some huge bids from live streaming services? I have no idea, but I did think that Sky my have lost its Premier League TV rights, and that is why it is focussing so heavily on the EFL? Not sure how it will fit so much Premier League football in with so many EFL games.- just a thought – could be barking up the wrong tree completely!
Robin Sainty says
I believe it has Richard, and that’s certainly what’s coming down from the FSA, I think you’d have to wrestle the EPL rights from Sky’s cold dead hands given that they think they invented football in 1992!
Jerry R says
No problem. Norwich aren’t worth watching on TV or in person.
R M says
When you say “The EFL say there will be “increased notice for fans” but they don’t define what that is”, this isn’t really true.
The EFL have committed to publishing the schedule up to FAC3 – so more than half the schedule – “before the start of the season”
That is a clear improvement on the current situation.
There is also a very clear implication that the existing five weeks notice period will be extended.
Robin Sainty says
I take your point, but given their past performance on deadlines I’ll believe when I see it. Realistically the chances of the EFL and Sky releasing a half season’s of game scheduled for coverage before the season starts and then sticking to it is basically zero. Until the action starts no-one knows how relevant any given game is likely to be, and TV will cherry pick the best ones rather than stick with a meaningless game that was listed months before.
R M says
But you accept that having picks to mid-Jan announced pre-season is an improvement on the current arrangement?
And you accept that, last season, few (if any) of NCFC’s TV picks were moved after the initial announcement?
Tim Ball says
Sorry Robin but I am confused, nothing unusual in that 😂, you say there will be a increase of funds for the new deal of roughly 40% and I was very pleased to hear that a few days ago as it is long overdue..
But surely this amount will be far in excess of what maybe lost with ticket sales? Especially if the season tickets sales remain as good as we are told.
I am as you say an armchair supporter nowadays purely due to health reasons but I also hate how the fixture list gets moved here there and everywhere which I can tell you really p***** off my mates who are regular away supporters.
I cannot agree with you at all that it is my choice not to go to the matches. I have been going man and boy for years ( even during Chemotherapy) and I do think you offend fellow supporters with those comments.
I have realised in recent years just how lucky I was able to go for all those years, only missing the period that I played regular football. And unfortunately due to health issues that was cut short at 28.
Gary Field says
I think, just for some context here, the previous EFL deal has largely been recognised as being “undervalued” in terms of the package sold, certainly in terms of the number of games on offer.
For sure, it was dwarfed by the Premier League’s own media deals, and there were many who were dismissive at the time, simply on the basis of the product on offer.
This time around the EFL has gone for maximum income, but this has come at the cost of the number of games now being covered.
One thing that cannot be disputed, is that the inconvenience of match going fans, usually being season ticket holders. Apologies if this offends those who don’t attend regularly, for whatever reasons, but there’s also no doubt that the actual attendance on televised games is substantially lower in comparison to non-televised games.
Looking beyond the headline numbers, ticket sales, this definitely has unforeseen consequences for all clubs, whether it’s in terms of the high earning corporate hospitality, or down to all other forms of match day sales.
Tim Ball says
Thanks for clearing that up Gary.
Brian Clough always said if we televise too many games we will lose fans through the gate.
I must say I agree with my mates who go away to just about every game that the continual changing of fixture dates does mess up their arrangements to such a degree that they then have to miss a game due to work commitments.
I think particularly our away fans have been treated abominably by both the club and the EFL, I bet Plymouth away will be on a Wednesday night in December.
I was trying to make the point that it isn’t until you lose the ability to go regularly through no fault of your own you are abused by others who have their own agenda.
I still see myself as an ardent Norwich supporter whether I go or not. I went to the Swansea and in the end I realised on the way home it wasn’t such a good idea…. and I don’t mean the football😂
David Bowers says
Except for the last decade average attendances for The Championship and League 1 have grown.
So if you listen to Gary F and Robin, ticket sales will plummet and match day revenues will be damaged.
If you look at the facts there’s nothing to support an overall decline in revenues related to TV coverage. Over the last 10 years coverage has skyrocketed, both on TV, legal streaming, and illegal streaming. Check out the the financial reports from last year vs. 10 years prior (both PL seasons).
Gate receipts were down 0.8M
Broadcasting was up 51M
Catering was up 2M
Commercial revenues were up 4M (although how this is appears in the reports is now different)
“Other” sources were up 2M
If people don’t want to attend a game, they can already do so and watch it. We should at least monetize it.