The only exception is in the USA where soccer as it is called takes second place behind other domestic sports. Currently the rights to show live matches are split into packages, and these are first live football match on tv between broadcasters. When fixtures are being played simultaneously, they usually broadcast one on BT Sport 2, another on BT Sport 3, and the rest are available via the red button. Under the terms of the deal they do make one match per week available for free, but to get the rest you do need to subscribe. They will screen matches from every round, from the preliminary and qualifying rounds to the group stages, knockout rounds, semi-finals and the final itself.
But there are no plans to allow matches to be televised at 3pm on Saturday afternoons.
For the next TV rights deal, running from August , the Premier League is to make live matches available per season — 14 more than the current — divided into five packages of 28 matches and two packages of 14 matches.
One of the packages will include up to 10 live games per season on a Friday night. Live matches are currently broadcast by BT and Sky on Saturday lunchtime and evenings, Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings.
Bill Shankly special One of the fiercest battles of this new Premier League season threatens to take place off the pitch, between broadcasters Sky and BT Sport.
No single buyer will be allowed to acquire more than matches, the Premier League said, as it published the tender document for the next TV rights auction on Friday afternoon. The tender includes a separate free-to-air highlights package.
The rights auction will take place next year, with the contracts likely to be awarded in February and the new deal running for three seasons from August Sky and BT will go head-to-head for the rights but the cost of live games is likely to be pushed up further by interest from rival broadcasters such as Discovery — the US media company that now owns Eurosport — and the Qatar-backed al-Jazeera.
There has also been speculation that technology companies such as Apple and Google-backed YouTube could bid for digital rights.
Premier League chiefs are thought to have looked to Friday night because most weekend slots are already taken outside the sacrosanct 3pm kick-off time, along with Monday evenings.
Games will either have to feature teams not competing in Europe, or be broadcast during weeks where there is no European competition.
The media regulator Ofcom last month opened a competition probe into the way the Premier League sells its TV rights, following a complaint by Virgin Media. The Ofcom inquiry prompted speculation that it could open up the possibility of live football on a Saturday afternoon for the first time.
Any substantial increase in the number of matches could require the football authorities to abandon the 2.