UK lower tier clubs are to suffer a reduction in television income after the League signed a TV deal for £23 million(€26.3m) a season less than the previous contract.
The new agreement, for the three years from 2012-13, will lead to 75 live Football League matches and the Carling Cup returning exclusively to pay TV in a deal worth £65 million a year.
The BBC, which under the current £88 million-a-year deal shows 10 live Championship games a year plus the Carling Cup final, declined to bid for live matches this time around.
The Football League has calculated that 82 per cent of player contracts will have expired by the time the new deal starts, giving clubs time to reduce their cost base.
Football League chairman, Greg Clarke said: “This has been a challenging climate in which to negotiate television rights, given the state of the economy and the lack of competitive tension in the sports broadcasting market.” The collapse of Setanta and the unwillingness of terrestrial broadcasters to bid left Sky as the only game in town, but Clarke said clubs would at least be able to plan for the future with certainty.
“I am confident that our clubs will take heart from seeing such a significant ongoing investment in their competitions, despite a reduced level of broadcasting income, as it provides financial certainty in uncertain times,” he said.
A terrestrial highlights package, expected to realise a seven-figure sum, remains up for grabs.