Premier League mid-season break moves step closer as BT announce TV games will be held over split weekend
- BT purchased one of the final Premier League TV packages on Thursday
- The broadcaster confirmed they have purchased an additional 20 matches
- The package will see BT cover top flight matches over a split weekend
- It will provide clubs with a mid-season break from 2019 until 2022
BT Sport have confirmed that there will be a mid-season break with the first to implemented during the 2019-20 Premier League season.
The broadcaster confirmed on Thursday that they had won the live rights to an additional 20 Premier League matches and also announced a slight change to the TV schedule for three seasons from 2019-2022.
In February, five of the seven packages were sold to the highest bidder, with Sky Sports claiming four of them and subsequently winning 128 matches per season, while BT took the other one on offer worth 32 matches.
A Premier League mid-season break could be put into the action during the 2019-20 season
CONFIRMED TV PACKAGES
BT SPORT – £885million
32 – matches at 12.30pm on Saturday
15 – matches from two midweek fixture programmes
5 – matches from the split weekend
SKY SPORTS – £3.579bn
32 – matches at 5.30pm on Saturday
8 – matches at 7.45pm on Saturday
32 – matches at 2pm on Sunday
32 – matches at 4pm on Sunday
24 – matches at either 8pm on Monday or 7.30pm/8pm on Friday
20 – matches from one Bank Holiday and one midweek fixture programme
BT moved yet again on Thursday though, and will be the first to show several midweek Premier League matches on the same evening and also confirmed teams will be granted their wishes for a mid-season winter break.
The change will see one set of matchday fixtures split across two weekends, which will result in five fixtures played on each.
BT purchased ‘Package G’ which entitles them to 15 matches from two midweek fixture periods and five from the split weekend.
It is likely, then, that clubs could be handed a two-week break from Premier League action as a result of this.
BT claimed one of the last two remaining packages to take their total spend to £885m before Amazon entered the war for top flight television rights by picking up the final one.
It entitles Amazon to broadcast either 20 matches from one Bank Holiday and one midweek fixture programme or 20 matches from two midweek sets of fixtures.
BT purchased ‘Package G’ which will see them broadcast five fixtures over a split weekend
The creation of mid-season winter break has long been demanded due to the demands of a lengthy league season, accompanied by numerous FA Cup, League Cup and European fixtures. It has been argued that it leaves players exhausted come May, with many linking the ruthless scheduling of games to the demise of England teams at major tournaments.
Arguments have also been made for English clubs, claiming they are at a disadvantage when it comes to European competition, given that Spain, Italy and Germany offer their leagues a winter break.