The blackout of NCAA football and basketball competitions in the UK has finally come to an end after a deal was struck by Sky Sports with ESPN. Under this agreement, Sky Sports will now have the rights to broadcast up to three college football matches per week, the College Football Playoff, and will also air ESPN’s College Gameday pre-game show. The deal will be in effect until the end of the 2024/25 season and ends the blackout that started in the summer.
The blackout took place after TNT Sports opted not to extend its agreement with ESPN, which affected magazine programming such as ‘Pardon the Interruption’. This was a result from Disney-owned US sports broadcaster shutting down its international ESPN Player direct-to-consumer streaming platform. Despite this, games involving Notre Dame continued to be available for broadcast. Notre Dame is not affiliated with a conference and sells its media rights to broadcasters around the world, including Sky Sports in the UK. Meanwhile, in the US, NBC has extended its deal with Notre Dame until 2029, with provisions for additional exclusive matches on NBC’s Peacock streaming service. The extension has not disclosed its worth but NBC Sports president Rick Cordella says “There is no better tradition than Notre Dame Football in South Bend, and we are thrilled to keep that tradition within the NBC Sports family as we extend our relationship as the exclusive home of Fighting Irish home games through the end of the decade”.