The BBC, Sky, ITV and BT have all submitted bids to the Football Association for coverage of FA Cup matches from 2014 to 2018, sparking rumours of a bidding war.
Currently, ITV and BT Sport hold the rights to FA Cup games until the end of the 2013-14 season. The first set of auctions the next three seasons took place last Friday with all four companies reportedly submitting bids.
According to unnamed industry sources speaking to the FT (paywall) the two PSB channels have locked horns with Sky and BT and the latter pair will bid the most aggressively for coverage of games.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to watching the FA CupWhile the FA Cup final will be free to watch as it’s ringfenced by Ofcom, the knockout stages, quarter-finals and semi-finals are all up for grabs. Historically, early matches have been broadcast on BBC and ITV as well as on Sky. But BT Sport’s bullish entry into the market could change things – we could see the lion’s share of games ending up on pay TV platforms in the near future.
When BT Sport bought ESPN’s live sports line-up earlier this year, rights to show 24 FA Cup games came with it. ITV has secured the broadcast rights to the remaining 16 FA Cup games per season. Both broadcasters will share coverage of the final.