BBC pay £204m to keep Premier League highlights on Match of the Day

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Deal sealed: Lineker and co. will continue with the Premier League highlights show. (Source: Getty)

Premier League highlights will stay on the BBC until the 2018/19 season after the broadcaster renewed its deal with the league.

The cost of the coverage has risen by 13.5 per cent, with the BBC's latest deal with the Premier League jumping from £179.7m to £204m.

As part of the deal the BBC's flagship football show, Match of the Day, will continue to be broadcast on Saturday nights and will be made available on iPlayer for the first time.

Match of the Day's Sunday morning repeat, Match of the Day 2, Football Focus and a new magazine-style show at 10pm on Wednesday nights will all be covered by the deal.

The BBC currently enjoys a combined audience of 9m for Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2, but there had been speculation it would lose out to ITV in the latest round of bidding.

ITV were reported to be seriously considering bidding for the rights, but in the end declined to make an offer.

Gary Lineker, the presenter of the iconic show since 1995, said he was "thrilled" by the news.

BBC director general Tony Hall commented:

Sport matters. It brings the nation together. It can break hearts and raise spirits. And because it matters to the public, it also matters to the BBC. That's why it's fantastic news that we have kept the Premier League highlights.

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