It was revealved (and reported here) last week that Coca Cola League football attendances were up to their highest level in the past 10 years and yesterday in a report by 'Deloite & Touche' that most clubs were finally beginning to turn the corner as far as finances go, today clubs all across the country are releaved that a new deal has been signed between the Football League, Sky Television and ITV to screen Coca Cola League football through until 2009.
This boosts futher the rebranding effect which the League implimented at the start of the season as it seems that football in this country is more popular than ever and League football seems to have progressed largely in popularity over the last year.
Today's contract signing saw Sky Sports being awarded exclusive coverage to the League's competition with ITV's highlights deal being extended up to the same summer. This new three year contract will extend clubs budgets futher as this money will be guaranteed by the end of the contract.
70 Games will be shown in total per season (around 55 from the Championship) as this season, the playoffs will be shown in their entirety again till '09 as well games from the Carling Cup and LDV Vans trophy.
Football League Chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney was delighted that a new deal had been agreed and said,
"This tremendous news caps what has been an enourmously encouraging season for the football league. Crowds have increased yet again, as are viewing figures and we are also delivering on the promise we made to increase clubs revenue."
This extended deal means that the two sides have been in partnership for over 10 years now, the Chairman continued saying,
"Sky Sports are a class act this agreement is recognition of the entertainment that is provided week in, week out at all the clubs across the league."
Equally pleased to be able to agree a deal was Sky Sports managing director Vic Wakeling who commented,
"The football league continues to go from strength to strength and attendances are at a 10 year high - reflecting a huge interest in the game at all levels. This emphasises the League's importance in the sporting fabric of this country"
He also pointed out,
"We think this deal is good for football and also for Sky subscribers, everyone is a winner. In Sky's brief history we have covered every single League Cup Live, home or away, in League or Cup and this new deal is about extending our coverage in the next four years"
To sum up the head of the ITV Sports department said,
"League clubs can take heart, not only from the new Sky and ITV agreements but also the level of competition in the marketplace for the rights to broadcast their live games"