The BBC will broadcast four live Premier League fixtures for the first time in the league’s history, as it resumes competitive sport behind closed doors as a result of Coronavirus.
The Premier League confirmed yesterday that all remaining fixtures this season will be televised, with the rights shared between the BBC, Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon.
In a statement, the BBC said; “For the first time since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, the BBC can confirm that it will be broadcasting free to air live games upon the league’s return next month.”
Four live games in total will air on the BBC alongside a bumper crop of Match Of The Day highlight programmes.
Director of BBC Sport, Barbara Slater, says: “This opportunity creates an historic moment for the BBC and our audiences. At a time when sports fans across the country are in need of lift, this is very welcome news.
“We are delighted and excited to have the chance to show live Premier League games on the BBC. This will offer audiences, who haven’t had the opportunity in the past, live, free to air access to the best football league in the world, as the BBC continues to keep the country entertained during these unprecedented times.”
The BBC added that it will be working closely with the Premier League to ensure all appropriate safety measures are adhered to in the broadcasting of these games.
Before the Premier League era, the last time a live, top-flight league football match was broadcast during the 1987-88 season; not forgetting Match Of The Day’s highlights and analysis which has been a staple of football culture since 1964.
These Premier League games will sit alongside the BBC’s existing live FA Cup rights, which the broadcaster also hopes to welcome back to screens soon.
The resumption of professional competitive football is still dependent on certain tests being met, and the Premier League – as well as the broadcasters – are yet to confirm the line-up and broadcaster of all the remaining 92 fixtures.