Channel 4 set to win race to show England football matches Business

Channel 4 is set to trump ITV with a bid for England’s football friendlies in a bold bet on live sport as it battles privatization.

The Telegraph understands the public broadcaster is set to strike a deal with the FA and UEFA to show 10 England national team games on the channel.

Sources said Channel 4 emerged as a surprise bidder for the matches and tabled a bid which forced ITV to withdraw from the bidding process. An industry insider said Channel 4 was expected to close the deal as early as next week, but there was no certainty a deal would be done.

It is the station’s latest foray into live sport after more than nine million people tuned in to watch Emma Raducanu’s US Open win following a deal struck with Amazon to secure free-to-air rights.

Traditional broadcasters are increasingly relying on fast-paced sporting events to boost their ad revenue, as they have the power to drive viewers away from US streamers.

However, the investment could bring Channel 4 under fire as its aim is to fund innovative and forward-thinking shows that the BBC would not.

The move comes as the privatization of Channel 4 is set to begin next year, with a sale expected to close by early 2024 at a price of around £1billion.

The government is facing a major political backlash from opposition parties and its own backbenchers. The House of Lords is expected to try to block government efforts to sell the channel in hopes it can be postponed until the next election.

Channel 4 has offered to invest an additional £200m a year in UK programming over the next decade through a joint venture with a private funder, in a bid to eleventh hour to stop Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries from offloading the broadcaster into private hands. .

However, the proposal was rejected by ministers after being told by UK Government Investments (UKGI) – the body overseeing government ownership of Channel 4 – that it posed an unacceptable risk to taxpayers.

Channel 4 and ITV declined to comment.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-22 18:39:36

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