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U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, has extended its TV deal with the NFL and added the rights to Monday Night Football.
While the NFL has faced some criticism back home, it has seen fan interest in Britain grow in recent years. The new five-year TV deal, which follows a three-year arrangement between the partners, will bring even more live football to the company’s Sky Sports, which has competed for sports rights with U.K. telecom giant BT. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Starting in 2015, Sky Sports viewers will get to see more than 80 live fixtures per season, including up to five games each week during the regular season, the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
Sky Sports also will air all matches from the NFL’s International Series, which has made the league more popular in Britain in recent years.
READ MORE Global Market for TV Sports to Top $26 Billion in 2014, Study Says
In 2013, Eurosport, now owned by Discovery Communications, struck a two-year deal for Monday Night Football. British broadcaster Channel 4 also has aired a package of NFL games.
Said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis: “We’re delighted to be awarded the rights to Monday Night Football as part of this fantastic new deal for even more live American football. The agreement means Sky Sports viewers can enjoy all the drama, excitement and unpredictability from the NFL until at least 2019. Our partnership with the NFL spans two decades and we look forward to helping the sport continue its huge growth in popularity in the U.K. and Ireland for years to come.”
Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of NFL UK, said, “Sky’s coverage of the NFL and their support for the sport in this country has been an important element of our growth and we look forward to seeing their coverage expand and develop over the next five years.”
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