Channel 4 has sensationally fended off interest from ITV and Sky Sports to win the prestigious rights to broadcast all England football matches until 2024. The Three Lions’ Nations League, European qualifiers and international friendlies will be shown by the broadcaster, which is mounting a comeback in football broadcasting.
It is the first time that England’s Nations League games have been shown on free-to-air television. The rights for the competition – of which England previously reached the finals in 2019 – were previously owned by Sky.
Sky had initially been expected to keep the Nations League matches but have been gazumped by Channel 4 in a shock agreement. UEFA conducted a central auction of rights for the new two-year cycle, boosting Channel 4’s hopes of scooping all matches.
The broadcaster’s first England match will be the Nations League clash with Hungary on June 4. The deal runs until shortly before Euro 2024, which is set to be held in Germany.
A statement tweeted by the Channel 4 Twitter account said: “This will be the first time England UEFA Nations League games will be on free to air television. In total, Channel 4 will broadcast 20 live England matches between 2022 and 2024.
“Six England games will be shown live on Channel 4 this year, starting with their match against Hungary on 4th June, followed by their away match against Germany on 7th June.”
Head of sport Pete Andrews said: “England matches against Germany are always an exciting prospect and I’m sure the team will be keen to set the record straight against Italy after the defeat in the final of the UEFA EURO.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have secured this deal with UEFA and I’m sure England fans will be looking forward to the summer with great anticipation.”
The broadcaster is hoping to build on the momentum gained from a few big sporting events shown on the channel in recent months. They screened Emma Raducanu’s incredible US Open final triumph over Leylah Fernandez in September last year.
Raducanu became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam since Virgina Wade in 1977. The 19-year-old broke all kinds of other records in front of a peak audience of 9.2 million.
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