Details of £935m EFL deal effecting Leeds United as Sky Sports provide 24-game promise

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Leeds United are no strangers to the Sky Sports cameras.

Leeds United could find themselves on television more than ever if they remain in the Championship next season, following the release of new channel and streaming platform Sky Sports+.

The English Football League’s (EFL) main broadcaster announced on Wednesday that they will launch the platform ahead of the 2024/25 season, following a fresh agreement. Sky Sports will pay £935million to the EFL, plus an additional £40m of marketing benefits, in return for exclusive domestic rights to games across the Championship, League One and League Two.

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Part of that agreement will see Sky Sports enjoy a huge increase in the number of games they are allowed to broadcast, effectively replacing current streaming service iFollow which has been used by the majority of teams - not including Leeds - since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The announcement confirms more than 1,000 EFL fixtures will be available to watch - a more than four-fold increase on the current total. The major increase will come mainly via the streaming of every mid-week game across the three leagues, as well as all games on bank holidays including Easter and New Year’s Day.

All League One and League Two games will also be available during international breaks and in a broadcasting first, every game from across the EFL will be available to watch on the opening weekend of the season in August. Sky Sports+ will be launched in preparation for that weekend and the platform can stream up to 100 events concurrently.

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As part of the new deal, there will be 10 matches across the EFL broadcast live every weekend with six on the Sky Sports+ app. It is believed that there will now be three 12.30pm kick-offs every Saturday in the Championship, which means some more long and early journeys for away fans.

All 72 EFL clubs will be shown live at least 20 times, Sky Sports have confirmed, with Championship teams available to watch at least 24 times. That number will likely be higher for Leeds, if they remain in the Championship.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Southampton was the 32nd time Daniel Farke’s men had been live on TV this season, equalling the record when not accounting for the 2020/21 Premier League campaign in which matches were played behind closed doors due to the pandemic. Both play-off semi-final meetings with Norwich will guarantee a total of at least 34, with progression to the final taking that up to a maximum of 35 in one campaign.

Supporters have grown increasingly frustrated at those making decisions on the schedule, with Farke also making his feelings clear in recent weeks. During a crucial part of the promotion race, Leeds saw trips to Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers moved so that instead of two Saturday afternoon games, they had to play on Monday and Friday night, significantly reducing the rest period - they lost the latter clash 4-0.

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Leeds will hope to not be affected by this new deal, with promotion to the Premier League still on the cards. Farke’s men are at Carrow road on Sunday before welcoming Norwich to Elland Road a week on Thursday. Victory over two legs will set up a final at Wembley against one of Southampton or West Bromwich Albion.