Sky and the NFL have agreed a new five-year deal to broadcast the NFL, and for the first time ever the US league will partner with an international broadcaster to launch a channel entirely dedicated to the sport.
The agreement marks the 25th anniversary of live NFL coverage on Sky Sports and will see the ‘Sky Sports NFL’ channel launch on September 3rd ahead of the 2020 season, which is scheduled to kick off on September 10th when reigning Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs take on the Houston Texans.
There are no pre-season games this year as a result of the ongoing pandemic which shows little signs of slowing down in the US. Players have also been given the option to opt out of the season (on reduced pay) if they have concerns over playing.
The new in-season channel will be the round-the-clock home of the NFL on television in the UK and Republic of Ireland from the regular season through to the play-offs, with Super Bowl LV live from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on February 7th.
Sky Sports NFL, which will be Channel 407 on the Sky platform.
“Sky Sports has been a fantastic broadcast partner for a quarter of a century,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “This new five-year agreement and the launch of a dedicated Sky Sports NFL channel will undoubtedly continue our rapid growth in the UK and Ireland. We are excited that our expanded partnership with Sky will provide even more NFL content to our millions of UK and Irish fans.”
Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer, Sky UK & Europe said: “We are proud of our quarter-century partnership with the NFL and are hugely excited about launching a dedicated channel which will be a first for the NFL with an international broadcaster. Sky Sports NFL will allow us to take our customers even closer to the sport. Sky Sports has shown live NFL since 1995 and played a big role in growing the sport in the UK & Ireland over the last 25 years. Now, as part of Comcast, we are excited about taking our partnership to a whole new level. Our viewers are passionate sports fans and we look forward to capturing the drama of NFL for another five years.”
Much like other sports around the globe, NFL games are set to take place inside empty stadiums, but the league hopes to see fans return in some capacity in the coming weeks – a decision will likely be made on a city-by-city basis.