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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
ITV scores in FA Cup rights fight
Liverpool players celebrate last year's FA Cup victory
The FA television contract is now worth more than 100m a year
ITV and Irish broadcaster Setanta have secured the rights to show the FA Cup and England home internationals in a 425m four-year deal.

The Football Association confirmed the deal, beginning in August 2008, saying that it was "delighted" at the outcome.

The deal is a substantial increase from the current 300m rights deal held jointly by the BBC and BSkyB.

Snatching the FA Cup and England rights is a major coup for ITV and its executive chairman Michael Grade.

The BBC and BSkyB have held the FA Cup rights since 2001.

'Sporting highlight'

Mr Grade made boosting ITV's coverage of live sporting events a priority when he left the BBC to join ITV in December.

WHAT ITV WILL SHOW
FA Cup live coverage
FA Cup highlights
England home internationals
England away friendlies
FA Women's Cup Final

ITV already has the terrestrial rights to the Champion's League, which it shares with BSkyB.

Mr Grade hailed the agreement - through which ITV will show England home internationals exclusively and about 16 FA Cup matches a year - as a "great deal".

"ITV is pleased to be returning both the FA Cup and England games to our viewers and advertisers," he said. "Our position is now substantially enhanced as the leading terrestrial free-to-air sports broadcaster."

WHAT SETANTA WILL SHOW
FA Cup live coverage
England home friendlies
England women's internationals
England Under-21 matches
Community Shield
Youth Cup
FA Trophy
FA Vase

As well as live coverage, the deal encompasses highlights via video-on-demand and goal clips sent to mobile phones.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick, a former BBC and ITV executive, said the winning bidders had shown "innovative ideas" and a "commitment to help promote all sectors of the game".

Pay-TV battle

BSkyB and Setanta, which will have exclusive pay-TV coverage of the FA Cup under the new deal, are involved in an increasingly fierce battle for pay-per-view sports rights.

Setanta Sports said it would be showing 25 FA Cup matches a year as well as eight England friendlies over the lifetime of the contract.

"The FA Cup is a great highlight in the English football calendar and an excellent addition to the Setanta line-up," said Trevor East, Setanta Sport's director of sport.

Last year the Irish broadcaster secured a six-year deal to televise the PGA golf tour featuring 40 leading tournaments, rights previously held by Sky.

606: DEBATE
TP

BSkyB and Setanta won a 1.7bn auction to screen Premiership games last year.

The decision leaves the BBC without any live domestic football coverage, although it has the rights to Premiership highlights until 2010.

"Whenever we bid for a contract, we have to bear in mind the interests of licence-fee payers and we always have to seek value for money," the BBC said in a statement.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
What matches ITV and Setanta will get from the deal



SEE ALSO
Losing the FA contract
30 Mar 07 |  Match of the Day
Setanta joins Premiership action
05 May 06 |  Business
BSkyB and Setanta agree TV pact
09 May 06 |  Business
Premiership in new 625m TV deal
18 Jan 07 |  Business

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