Leeds United among Championship sides voicing concerns over EFL broadcast deal

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The EFL’s new broadcast deal with Sky Sports is under pressure with Leeds United and other Championship sides voicing concerns about the terms of the contract.

Officials from clubs in the EFL’s top tier are due to hold more talks for this week following a meeting last Tuesday in which no fewer than 15 indicated their wish for the governing body to renegotiate its agreement with Sky.

Leeds United among Championship clubs voicing concerns over EFL broadcast deal.

Leeds United among Championship clubs voicing concerns over EFL broadcast deal.

The broadcaster, which currently holds the rights to EFL matches, has secured a new five-year deal which is due to begin at the start of next season and will see a rise in money paid to EFL clubs.

Sky is offering £119m a year, up from the current figure of £90m, in return for an increase in live games to 183 each season. EFL clubs, however, are yet to sign the contract off.

Under the agreement, Championship teams would receive almost £3m a year in guaranteed payments and additional money from fees paid for live appearances on Sky.

Leeds, who have been televised more than anyone else in the division this season, and other sides including Aston Villa, Derby County and Brentford have raised issues with the new deal and the funding it offers.

United’s frustration is understood to relate to the cash paid for live games, which the club’s board and owner Andrea Radrizzani see as disproportionately low in comparison to the number of times United are televised.

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Questions have also been asked about Sky’s red-button service, which began in September and allows more games to be broadcast in midweek. Some clubs believe the red-button format will affect attendances and hit other matchday revenue streams.

The EFL has already faced opposition to its existing contract with Sky and former Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino threatened to shut the broadcaster out of a league match between United and Derby County at Elland Road in 2016 amid arguments over the disruption caused by fixture changes.

Last month Radrizzani spoke about the possible creation of a ‘Premier League 2’, saying the current level of TV funding in the Championship made the division “unsustainable”.

“It’s really not sustainable to stay in the Championship,” Radrizzani said. “The small money they generate from TV rights, because of the way they split it with 72 (EFL) clubs, maybe needs to be reconsidered.

"Consider another way, to create probably a Premier League 2 or something else that can be sustainable even for who is not promoted.

“The time is getting ready to consider what to do to move forward so we don't have a crisis every two years when a club goes bankrupt or changes ownership every other year.”