Highlights from ringfenced 3pm kick off Premier League games will be available to Sky Sports subscribers on a near-live and on-demand basis next season.
The three year deal sees Sky Sports customers able to watch extended highlights of all 212 Premier League matches that aren’t broadcast live on TV in the UK from the 2016/17 season onwards.
The availability of this content on an on-demand basis is a first for Sky and is the closest football fans will get to watching broadcast-ringfenced games live in the UK, at least legally.
Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: “Sky Sports has never been in a stronger position with this deal cementing our position as the first choice for sports fans.
Related: How can I watch Sky Sports and How to get Sky Sports and BT Sport on the cheap“It completes the set and is more good news for Sky Sports viewers having already secured more live Premier League matches from the 2016/17 season, as well as clips from every match available on mobile and online.
“We are giving fans more ways to watch extended highlights, with the content now available on demand in the individual club section so fans can catch up on the action when they want.”
The three year agreement gives Sky Sports viewers extended highlights of all 212 Premier League matches not broadcast live on television and for the first time, fans will also be able to watch these extended highlights On Demand whenever they want to.
Highlights from the Saturday 3pm matches will be included in the 212 games, alongside matches from Sundays and weekdays that are also not broadcast live.
On Saturdays one entire match not already broadcast live will be available to view from 8pm – most likely a 3pm match – with the remaining games showing from 10.30pm. On all other days, non-live games will be available from 10pm.
Sky Sports has bagged broadcast rights to 126 games in the 2016/17 season, while BT Sport will be showing the remaining 44 games that have been cleared for broadcast.
Arcane FA laws dating back to the 1960s prohibit games kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday from being broadcast. Ostensibly introduced to protect match attendance, the ruling has remained in place, despite the prohibitive cost of actually attending most Premier League games these days.
Absurdly, while it’s illegal for a UK company to show such games, European broadcasters can do so without such restrictions. You may remember the case of Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy who tried to circumvent this by signing up for a Greek satellite TV package.
Media regulator Ofcom is currently investigating whether these old restrictions should remain in place.