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Football League defend new broadcasting deal
Football League chairman Greg Clarke believes clubs will 'take heart' from the new three-year broadcasting deal with Sky Sports worth £195million - even though it represents a £69million drop on the current deal.
The new contract is effective from the start of the 2012/13 season and, although there is still a free-to-air highlights package to be agreed, it will be 20%-25% below the current deal with Sky and the BBC, which was worth a total of £264million.
Clarke said: "I am confident that our clubs will take heart from seeing such a significant ongoing investment in their competitions, despite a reduced level of broadcasting income, as it provides financial certainty in uncertain times."
He added: "This has been a challenging climate in which to negotiate television rights, given the state of the economy and the lack of competitive tension in the sports broadcasting market."
The league believe the fact they have agreed the deal so far in advance will help clubs plan accordingly - and that more than four-fifths of all player contracts in the three divisions will have expired by the time the next deal starts.
It also compares favourably with the £109.5million deal from 2006-09.
Under the new agreement Sky Sports will broadcast 75 matches from across the npower Football League, the play-offs including all three finals, 15 matches from the Carling Cup including both legs of each semi-final and the final, the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final and at least two matches from the preceding rounds. Highlights will also be part of the package.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "Sky Sports will bring viewers more live matches - over 100 a year from across all divisions and each of the league's competitions."
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