There are 92 games still to be played in England’s top flight and all will most likely be played behind closed doors.
Football bosses want fans to be able to watch every game live. According to The Times, there are proposals for games to be shown free on Sky Sports and BT Sport’s YouTube channels. However, not all matches will be shown at the same time to increase audience figures.
Sky Sports, under their existing agreement with the Premier League, were handed the rights to show half of the remaining 92 games before the season was paused.
47 matches are planned to be shown on Sky, which holds the majority of the broadcasting rights. The other 45 will need to be split between Sky, BT and Amazon Prime, however there had been no plans to give the latter more games to stream this season due to the proportion of the games they were contracted to show.
The BBC is unlikely to show any live games, but they could be allowed to feature highlights packages.
The Times suggests broadcasters are opposed to the idea of scrapping relegation as it would risk making TV contracts invalid and rendering many of the games meaningless. Six clubs have so far tried to block ‘Project Restart’ as they want relegation to be cancelled and the season to be made void.
The broadcasters and government will then be left to sort out a deal about how many matches would be shown on free-to-air channels such as YouTube.
As things stand, the Premier League is under pressure to finish off the season to protect the £762 million in TV money that would have to be repaid to broadcasters.
The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, revealed last month he had spoken to the Premier League over the issue of TV coverage.
“It wouldn’t be 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,” he said.
“I don’t want to be in a position of issuing some blanket mandate or trying to change things round.
“But they do need to be mindful of that, and in fairness they are mindful of it.”
The last time Premier League matches were shown for free was on the opening day of the 2013-14 season when Sky showed Manchester United v Swansea, while Crystal Palace v Arsenal was free on BT.