Belfast Telegraph

Premier clubs sign up to Friday night fever

By Martyn Ziegler

Premier League matches will be screened live on Friday nights from the start of the 2016-17 season, it can be revealed.

Up to 10 games will be shown live on Friday evenings under the terms of the new broadcasting rights agreement.

The Premier League has issued invitations to tender (ITT) for the broadcast rights for three seasons starting in August 2016 with 168 live matches available in total - 14 more than are currently shown and which means that 44 per cent of all Premier League games will be available live. The auction is expected to herald another bumper pay-day for top-flight clubs.

There will be seven packages available, as under the current system, but it is understood the Monday night package will include up to 10 games to be played on Friday night.

No broadcaster will be able to show more than five packages or 126 matches in total, guaranteeing at least two packages and 42 games to a second broadcaster.

The announcement will fire the starting gun on the contest to secure the live rights with current rights holders BSkyB and BT Sport set to bid again.

The ITT will also include bids for a free-to-air highlights package, and ITV is expected to challenge the BBC which has held the rights since 2004.

The bidding process is expected to be completed within the next four months with a decision announced in March.

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