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History of Football on the TV

1964 - The BBC first broadcasts Match of the Day, which becomes an instant TV hit with viewers. It soon attracts a quarter of the adult television audience and the past-ime of watching football on the TV is born.

1970 - The FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leeds gets a record TV audience of 20 million.

1988 - A year of crisis meetings and TV rights negotiations after Rupert Murdoch bids £47m for the rights to First Division football, heralding the dawn of a new age in football rights negotiations. Greg Dyke, then at ITV, responds with plans to launch a new 'ITV Ten' breakaway league with the top clubs. Smaller football clubs are up in arms and a compromise is eventually reached whereby ITV pays a large increase in the amount required to retain the rights to show football on TV for three years.

1989 - Sky TV launches in the UK, but with no football rights is an initial flop.

April 1991 - In the biggest upheaval to hit football since the game turned professional, the FA unveils its Blueprint for the Future of Football, which advocates the launch of a new league. At least 12 clubs, including the so-called 'big five' (Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United), say they will join.

June 1991 - Four more football clubs sign up to the proposed FA Premier League, making any opposition futile.

July 1991 - The clubs commit to playing in the Premier League from 1992-93 onwards. Despite opposition from the Football League, there is little it can do.

1992 - In a dramatic smash and grab, Sky Television wins the rights to live Premier League football in a £304m five-year deal marking the start of Sky being the major player when it comes to football on the TV. The BBC wins the football highlights package and revives Match of the Day, freezing out ITV. A furious Greg Dyke threatens legal action over the way negotiations were conducted, calling the BBC "Murdoch's poodle". Alan Sugar, the chairman of Amstrad (which made Sky's dishes) and chairman of Spurs, is heard on the phone to Sky, barking "blow them out of the water", after ITV had offered £262m. In the end Sky pays just £190m, after failing to meet certain foreign sales targets.

1995 - Sky buys the rights to live Endsleigh League and Coca-Cola Cup matches for £25m a season, again outbidding ITV. It also wins the rights to live Scottish football, making Sky the virtual paymaster of British football on TV.

1996 - Rupert Murdoch and Sky chief Sam Chisholm torpedo a proposed rival bid from the cable companies for the football TV rights before renewing the deal for £670m over four years, beating a rival Kelvin MacKenzie-led joint bid from the Daily Mirror and Carlton.

1997 - Manchester United launch MUTV, the first channel dedicated to a single football club on TV.

1998 - Sky makes an audacious attempt to buy Manchester United. A £625m offer is accepted, only for the deal to eventually be blocked by the competition authorities amid protests from fans and rival football clubs.

March 1999 - Premiership chief Peter Leaver and chairman Sir John Quinton are forced to resign after giving multimillion pound consultancy fees to former Sky bosses Sam Chisholm and David Chance.

1999-2000 - TV broadcasters go football crazy, with Sky (Chelsea, Leeds, Manchester United), NTL (Newcastle United, Aston Villa), Carlton (Arsenal) and Granada (Liverpool) all taking 9.9% stakes in Premier League football clubs.

February 1999 - ITV agrees a £250m four-year deal for exclusive live Champions League football across ITV and its pay TV operation ONDigital in the hope it will do for their subscription figures what the Premier League did for Sky TV. Fans of the Champions league and Champions league betting will now have to tune in to ITV on a Tuesday and Wednesday night.



June 2000 - Sky pays £1.1bn to renew its Premier League TV deal for a package of 66 live football matches. The contract is reduced to three years in an effort to head off EU competition concerns. NTL wins the right to 40 pay-per-view games but later pulls out after realising it cannot afford them and it is re-sold to a consortium of pay TV operators. ITV pays £183m for a highlights package, signalling the end of Match of the Day. Greg Dyke, now at the BBC, is beaten again but consoles himself by shelling out £400m for live FA Cup matches in conjunction with Sky to keep some football on BBC.

2001 - ITV's teatime Premiership TV show is a critical and ratings disaster, with audiences falling as low as 4 million. The programme is hurriedly moved to a later time slot. In a desperate last throw of the dice, ONDigital rebrands as ITV Digital and launches the ITV Sport channel, agreeing to pay &poiund;315m for Nationwide League football games.

March 2002 - ITV Digital collapses, still owing £178.5m to the Football League, which it fails to get back in court. The dramatic bankruptcy puts dozens of small football clubs in jeopardy and signals the end of the TV football rights gravy train. Sky picks up the Nationwide football League and Worthington Cup football rights for a song making Sky the main place to watch football on TV.

September 2002 - ITV and Sky win the race for Champions League TV rights, despite stiff competition from the BBC, paying £83m a year between them after the football TV rights package was restructured at the behest of EU competition authorities.

December 2002 - After an 18-month investigation, the EU declares that the Premier League is guilty of anti-competitive behaviour in the way it sells its football TV rights and gives the league 10 weeks to respond.

April 2003 - The Premier League have requested an oral hearing with the EU. With the Premier League ensuring no one single TV broadcaster won exclusive rights to six packages of 23 live football games each

August 2003 - Premiership football returns to the BBC as part of the new television coverage deal. Live football games will continue to be shown on Sky, while ITV lose its football highlights package at the end of the forthcoming season. Sky TV pay £1.024bn to retain the rights to show live football on TV, with the BBC paying £105m for its football highlights contract. Match of the Day is back on TV with highlights - programmes on both Saturday and Sunday for three years from the 2004/5 football season.

November 2005 - The Premier League and the European Commission agree a deal on how the football on TV rights will be structured. The League has agreed to sell live TV coverage rights of the football games in six packages with no single bidder allowed to buy all six. This will end Sky TV'smonopoly on live coverage of Premiership football matches.

May 2006 - Irish pay-TV operator Setanta is successful in its bid to break Sky TV's monopoly on live Premiership football coverage, securing two of three remaining live TV rights packages of 23 football games per year for four seasons starting in 2007. Setanta paid £392m for 46 live football games per year. Sky TV secured four football TV packages paying £1.31bn for a total of 92 live games on TV per year.

September 2007 - Setanta Sports agree a six-year deal with Arsenal Football Club to broadcast its new Arsenal football TV channel. Arsenal TV will also be available to Setanta customers for free. In July, Setanta signed a similar three-year deal with Liverpool to air their football TV channel.

November 2007 - The BBC and Sky TV announce they will share the TV rights to Football League and Carling Cup matches. The new £264m TV deal will run for three seasons starting in 2009-10 and will result in live coverage of the Carling Cup Final airing on BBC terrestrial television "for the first time in recent memory". Sky Sports' exclusive football TV rights cover 65 Football League matches, the play-offs and all three finals, two football matches per round in rounds 1 to 5 of the Carling Cup, and two legs of the Carling Cup semi-finals. BBC Sport will exclusively broadcast 10 Coca-Cola championship football matches and two legs of the Carling Cup semi-finals. The Carling Cup Final will be simulcast on Sky Sports TV and BBC Television.

March 2008 - Initial bids have been entered by BBC Television, ITV, Sky TV and Setanta for three seasons of TV broadcasting rights to Champions League football. Reports say the final cost for the football TV rights could reach about £125m a year with bidding expected to end in Autumn. Five TV may also be taking part but the front-runner appears to be the BBC. The corporation is reportedly determined after losing domestic international and FA Cup rights. ITV and Sky TV currently air Champions League football games and they are likely to be shared between a free-to-view and pay-TV broadcaster again.



June 2009 - Troubled broadcaster Setanta loses their right to show live Premier League games after failing to meet their contractual obligation of a &30 million payment to the Premier League. This ultimately led to Setanta ceasing to air any of their sports channels in the UK and leaving the Premier League and Scottish League looking for a new broadcaster.

June 2009 - American broadcaster ESPN win the rights lost by Setanta for the 46 live Premier League games for the 2009/10 season. ESPN paid a reported &90 million for the rights to show the live matches that include 23 matches in the three seasons from the 2010/11 season to the 2012/13 season. Not so well known in the UK, the Disney owned ESPN have a strong sporting presence in the US and also across Asia. ESPN plan the launch of a brand new pay per view channel made available to UK customers on Sky, Virgin Media and BT Vision. They will also broadcast the live games on a ESPN HD channel.

July 2009 - The SPL agree a two year deal after a joint bid by ESPN and Sky worth &65 million. A deal that was not supported by the Celtic Chairman John Reid saying "No-one should underestimate the blow that has been inflicted on this club and Scottish football by the way in which the whole affair has been handled and by the losses incurred."

July 2009 - ESPN add to their live football on TV winning the rights to show live games from the Dutch Eirdevesie, German Bundesliga, Portuguese Super Liga and Russian Premier League.

August 2009 - ESPN UK launch their new channel on Sky and Virgin Media at extra cost to most subscribers. ESPN also bag the rights for Serie A for the 2009/10 season giving. The addition of Serie A means live football from the top divisions in England, Scotland, Italy, Holland, Germany, Portugal and Russia.

August 2009 - Sky Sports confirm a three year deal to show live Spanish La Liga games for the 2009/10 to 2011/12 seasons.

September 2009 - ESPN add live Europa league football to their ever growing live football available on their UK TV channel. The deal gives ESPN the rights to show live games on a Wednesday and Thursday evenings. This season ESPN will be following the British teams, Everton, Fulham and Celtic as well as other major European teams.

October 2009 - FIFA agree a multi-year deal with ESPN to show archive footage from previous FIFA World Cups. These historic pictures include official FIFA World Cup films and are sure to delight fans of the beautiful game and a sense of history.

November 2009 - New regulations have been agreed by the Premier League regarding media access to managers and players. As of the 2010/11 season it will be mandatory that all Premier League managers give interviews to all media rights holders, largely the broadcasters paying for the rights. This is good news for the BBC as Alex Ferguson will be forced to give post match interviews instead of his assistant Mike Phelan. The motion passed also allows TV cameras and reports onto the pitch to interview the winning team, with both sets of players available if the game is a draw.

December 2009 - FIFA announce that the World Cup in South Africa will be filmed in 3D. In an agreement with Sony 25 World Cup games will be filmed using 3D technology. FIFA are still to confirm whether they will offer live broadcast rights for 3D matches.

December 2009 - ESPN agree a deal with the FA to cover live FA Cup games for four years. The deal between The FA and ESPN also includes England U21 games and the upcoming Womens Super League. ESPN will cover FA Cup matches until the 2013 cup final. The deal means coverage will be split between ESPN and ITV whose deal ends in 2012.