Sky to begin streaming Football League matches - will Manchester United and Liverpool games be next?

Will Manchester United's games move onto a streaming platform? Sky's new deal offers fans hope

Will Manchester United's games move onto a streaming platform? Sky's new deal offers fans hope

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Football League bosses have agreed a groundbreaking deal with Sky to stream matches live - a project which could pave the way for Premier League games being offered in the same manner.

Sky is to stream all midweek games in the Championship, English football's second tier, after agreeing a new five-year rights deal with the Football League worth £600m.

Streaming refers to the process of watching matches via internet software instead of the television. Millions of fans use illegal streaming sites to watch the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal matches live online, rather than paying for Sky or BT.

By accessing such sites, Premier League supporters can watch every single one of their club's games without the need to subscribe to the TV broadcasters, which cover all 20 top-tier clubs and so can't provide this facility.

A survey produced by the BBC earlier this year found that over a third of football fans now illegally stream Premier League football at least once a month, and the growing popularity, and quality, of illegal streams has posed a major headache for club bosses.

In July the Premier League announced its "biggest ever crackdown" on illegal streams. According to The Independent, football bosses secured a High Court Order to make it more difficult to watch games via Kodi boxes, which are perfectly legal but can be adapted to access copyrighted material, such as football matches.

However there has been speculation that Premier League executives will eventually move towards providing their own streaming service - allowing fans to watch every one of their club's games through an individual subscription package.