Premier League matches could be free-to-air once the season restarts

The Premier League is considering showing matches on free-to-air television when the season resumes.

It’s been six weeks since the last top-flight game was played due to the coronavirus virus, which has plunged much of the sporting world into lockdown.

There is currently not a set date for when the remaining fixtures can be fulfilled, although they are expected to take place behind closed doors.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee that positive talks about broadcasting matches on terrestrial TV have been held with the Premier League.

“It’s a very good point and I’ve raised exactly this challenge to the Premier League in the conversations I had with them,” Dowden said, per the Mirror.

“I have said to the Premier League in particular… I think it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it.

“I appreciate that sports are reliant on the revenue they derive [from subscriptions] so I don’t want to issue some blanket mandate on trying to change things round.

“But they are mindful and there are different ways you can protect revenue from broadcasting but also look at ways of increasing access.

“I have urged them to do that and that’s what they are considering.”

Currently, games in England’s top flight are only screened on subscription channels such as Sky Sports and BT Sport. Amazon also hold rights.

However, Dowden’s plans could see BBC and ITV given an opportunity to screen matches.

The government are concerned that airing the run-in on subscription channels could cause members of the public to gather at houses to watch games.

Sky and BT wouldn’t be happy with losing games, but making games accessible to the larger population would reduce that threat.

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