Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

More Premier League matches to be screened live on television


More Premier League matches will be screened live in Britain than ever before from next year.

The league have announced 154 matches will be shown live on TV each season from 2013-14 - 16 more than currently and more than 40% of all top-flight games.

A PL spokesman insisted there was no intention to have fewer matches kicking off at 3pm on Saturdays, when no live screening is permitted, and that the extra 16 games would come from those matches moved to other kick-off times due to Europa League involvement or police advice.

The Premier League yesterday issued an invitation to tender (ITT) to interested parties for the domestic UK broadcast rights for the 2013/14 to 2015/16 seasons.

The 154 games will be split into seven packages - five packages of 26 matches and two packages of 12 matches. No single buyer will be allowed to acquire more than five packages or 116 matches.

Sky and ESPN, who both hold the current rights, are certain to bid and there is expected to be a powerful challenge from Al Jazeera which has already made major in-roads in France's football TV market.

A PL statement said: "This creates a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm 'closed window' and minimising further displacement of Premier League fixtures."

A separate sales process will be conducted for two "near live" long form packages each containing 226 matches and an internet-based clips package for all 380 matches.