Whilst over a third of Premier League fans admit to watching matches via unofficial sources, the Football League is planning a big increase in televised football, including simultaneous transmissions of games.
According to a tender document issued by the English Football League, in 2019-20 the number of matches broadcast live will go from 112 matches a season to 324 – with up to 228 of the 552 Championship matches being live.
The rights are being split into packages including weekend and midweek packages whilst all the matches of the EFL Cup (to be known as Carabao Cup) also forming a package.
Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, has already confirmed BT’s interest in broadcasting Championship games and for fans of the clubs in the upper tier of the Football League, the option to watch their games on TV will provide a welcome option to purchasing match tickets, streaming illegally or having to make do with just watching live football scores.
In the case of the Premier League, last season saw a drop in TV viewing figures partly due to the relegation of popular teams, partly due to the growth of alternative legal platforms such as Sky Go but also due to an increasing popularity of Kodi boxes and other illegal streaming services which the football authorities are increasingly looking to clamp down on.
Providing more access to football through legal channels may well prove to be a more profitable and popular route than draconian attempts to clamp down on the ever adapting world of internet piracy.