UK public broadcaster the BBC is set to secure free-to-air (FTA) rights to live coverage of English soccer’s FA Cup competition through a sub-licensing agreement with TNT Sports, the UK pay-TV heavyweight owned by media giant Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD).

The BBC has beaten commercial broadcaster ITV – with whom it currently shares rights – to secure the secondary live rights package, according to the Daily Mail. 

Through the sub-licensing deal, the broadcaster will provide live coverage of two FA Cup matches from each round up to the quarter-finals, one semi-final, and the final.

While a few details remain to be agreed, the Daily Mail reports that the deal will also give BBC rights for a highlights program.

The announcement follows last month’s TNT Sports deal obtaining the main rights to the FA Cup from the 2025-26 season after striking a deal with the Football Association (FA) governing body.

Under that deal, the broadcaster, formerly known as BT Sport, will show every game live from the competition’s third round outside the 3pm domestic media blackout across the UK until the end of the 2028-29 season via its linear channels and WBD’s streaming platform Discovery+.

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The package also includes rights to air the FA Community Shield and the FA Youth Cup semi-finals and finals.

The four-year deal would have kept the competition behind a pay-wall, with the BBC and rival ITV losing their rights to broadcast the competition (which they hold until the end of the 2024-25 season), however, the BBC now stands to retain the rights.

The TNT deal had included a commitment to make matches from each round free-to-air, either via its platforms or in partnership with a terrestrial channel.

BT Sport previously shared the rights with the BBC from 2014 to 2021.

WBD and the BBC had a similar arrangement almost a decade ago, with WBD taking the exclusive rights to the Olympics from the public-service broadcaster, and then entering a sub-licensing partnership with the corporation.

Barbara Slater, the outgoing BBC director of sport, told MPs in November that it is becoming increasingly difficult for it to retain the rights to major sporting events.