The BBC will show FA Cup football matches until at least 2025, in a four-year broadcast deal between the broadcaster and the Football Association (FA) announced today.
Live matches, highlights and clip rights will remain with the BBC under the terms of the deal, which comes into effect at the start of the 2021-2022 season.
The agreement sees an increase in the number of FA Cup ties to 18 live matches across the competition a season, featuring greater coverage of the early rounds. Up to six live matches from across the first and second rounds of the cup will be shown, the broadcaster said today.
The FA Cup has dwindled in popularity in the modern era, with clubs sometimes fielding weakened teams in favour of the more lucrative Premier League. Nevertheless, in 2015 it attracted a sponsorship from Dubai-based airline Emirates, renaming the competition the Emirates FA Cup.
But 2019 has been a bumper year for the competition, with a recent fifth round tie between Chelsea and Manchester United drawing in more than 8.1m viewers, making it the most-watched match of the 2018-19 season so far. Manchester United emerged 2-0 winners in that game, before eventually going out 2-1 in the quarter finals to Wolves last week.
Mark Bullingham, FA Chief Commercial & Football Development Officer, said the cup “captures the imagination of the fans year after year and, without fail, creates incredible stories that become folklore in English football history.”
“This is an exciting new deal and we look forward to working with the BBC for years to come.”
Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, added the broadcaster’s coverage of the historic competition “delivers some of the year’s biggest viewing figures, engages a key younger audience and provides memorable sporting moments that unite a nation”.