Sky Becomes First International Network to Add Dedicated NFL Channel

    • Sky and the NFL’s five-year deal gives the network access to five live games per week.
    • The move is a continuation of the league’s push for a U.K. footprint.

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The NFL and Sky have agreed to a five-year partnership that will make the network the first international broadcaster to launch a dedicated NFL channel.

Sky Sports NFL will launch on Sept. 3, ahead of the 2020 NFL season. In-season, it will be the “round-the-clock home of the NFL on television in the U.K. and Republic of Ireland from the regular season through the playoffs,” the league said in an announcement

The deal entails access to a minimum of five live games per week; every Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night game; every playoff game, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl live; a first-pick exclusive game on Sky Sports in the Sunday primetime slots; flagship shows from NFL Network, including “Good Morning Football and “Total Access”; “NFL Redzone”; documentaries and other content from NFL Films and NBC Sports; new weekly NFL shows including Sky Sports originals; and increased NFL coverage across Sky Sports News, digital and social platforms.

The deal was announced on the 25th anniversary of live NFL coverage on Sky.

In recent years, the NFL has pushed to create a U.K. footprint. The league has held 28 regular-season games in London since 2007, and is aiming to develop a pipeline of talent by launching the NFL Academy in London last year, as well as a widespread flag football program. 

“This new five-year agreement and the launch of a dedicated Sky Sports NFL channel will undoubtedly continue our rapid growth in the U.K. and Ireland,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. 

Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts are also accessible to U.K. fans, and even include the option of listening to U.K. English feed with soccer commentators Tommy Smyth and Derek Rae. 

In April, Amazon and the NFL announced a three-year extension of the deal, which not only gives the commerce giant the rights to stream TNF games on Prime Video and Twitch, but also gives it exclusive global rights to one Saturday game in the second half of the season outside of the featured teams’ market.