The FA Board has ratified a ‘hugely significant’ overseas broadcast rights deal that will ensure The Emirates FA Cup’s status as the world’s original and greatest domestic cup competition.
After an extremely competitive bidding process for the international rights to televise The Emirates FA Cup for the six seasons from the 2018-19 campaign through to 2023-24, The FA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pitch International to cover western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and with IMG for the rest of the world.
The new deal comes after The FA adopted a new rights strategy. The tender process allowed for agencies as well as broadcasters to bid on single territories, regional groupings or a global package of rights and came after English football’s governing body undertook a benchmarking exercise into the competition’s global appeal.
As part of the agreements with IMG and Pitch International, the financial terms will remain confidential. The rights include The Emirates FA Cup, The FA Community Shield and The FA Youth Cup. As confirmed earlier this year, the domestic rights will remain with BBC and BT Sport, with an agreement already in place to extend those strong relationships through to 2021.
FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn said: “This is a hugely significant deal for The FA as a not-for-profit organisation. It means we will be able to invest even more than we currently do in pitches, facilities and participation programmes to make football available for all.
“It is not overstating it to say that it could have a transformational impact on what we are able to achieve across the country. It also underlines the global popularity of The Emirates FA Cup, with its history and tradition it has the remarkable ability to create fantastic stories and inspire fans, players and clubs to believe anything is possible.
“On top of that, by the time we get to the Wembley showpiece next May, more than £30m will have been distributed to competing clubs this season, from the amateur game right through to the elite level.
“We are extremely grateful to Pitch International and IMG for recognising the value of this wonderful competition – as we are to our other cup partners – and their support will have a direct and lasting impact in helping us to grow the grassroots and making sure football is for all.”
Michael Mellor, SVP and Head of Football for IMG Media, added: “We are delighted to have secured a deal of this magnitude with the Football Association.
“English football is extremely popular all over the globe and in The Emirates FA Cup we have the most prestigious domestic cup competition in the world, which every year manages to provide magical moments and outstanding entertainment for broadcasters and viewers.
“IMG, of course, runs the Club Wembley programme so it’s good to extend our relationship with The FA even further.”
Jon Owen, Founding Partner of Pitch International, said: “Our partnership with The FA dates back over two decades and we are delighted to extend this to 2024. We take great pride in representing the world’s oldest cup competition. It is a unique event that richly deserves its place in the sporting calendar.
“We are confident that by continuing to work together we will deliver ongoing success for The FA and its media partners for many years to come.”
The FA have a real chance now to utilise this new found wealth and use in a balanced manner to benefit all parts of the game, including the Grassroots game.