The English Football League (EFL) second-tier soccer structure has issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for domestic media rights for the 2024-25 season onwards.
The ITT is the next formal step in the league’s tender process after issuing a request for proposals (RFP) in October.
According to the EFL, the RFP “received multiple responses from a range of broadcasters, OTT, and streaming platforms.”
In launching its ITT, the league said it is “seeking to evolve its rights offering for this latest cycle to provide additional revenues for EFL clubs alongside embracing innovation and reflect changing audience habits.”
Rights are on offer for 1,891 matches contained in the three-tier EFL league structure (the Championship, League One, and League Two), the EFL Cup, the EFL Trophy, and all end-of-season playoffs.
The EFL is inviting bids for three-to-five-year contracts. Offers must be submitted by 5PM GMT on March 22.
Ben Wright, EFL chief commercial officer, said: “We had an encouraging set of responses in the autumn to the RFP and after continued dialogue with the market we are now moving to formalize the next stage of the process.
“Our objective remains to find the right mix of maximizing value, increasing volume, and providing a great viewing experience through evolution and innovation.
“Clubs received a full update at meetings last week and will continue to be kept informed on progress as we enter this latter phase.”
The EFL is currently in the fourth season of a five-year tie-up with Sky, the UK pay-television heavyweight, which expires at the end of 2023-24.
The present Sky-EFL deal was struck in September 2017 and, at the time, was valued at £600 million ($720 million) in total.
In total, 138 games per year are included in that agreement – a total that at the time many of the better-supported Championship clubs believed should be higher.
Aside from Sky's coverage of the EFL, individual clubs can also show games on their own specific version of the iFollow service, with this innovation brought in ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
Sky, the long-standing EFL rightsholder, is understood to be interested in renewing but is expected to face competition from rival BT Sport and streaming services DAZN and Viaplay.
This interest could see the EFL bring in over £200 million a season for its next media rights cycle.
DAZN does not hold any soccer rights in the UK but is keen to add it to its portfolio to build out its offering and subscriber base in the market.
The sports streaming platform’s chief executive Shay Segev recently stated that it will bid for rights to the top-tier Premier League in the next cycle as a “high priority.”
DAZN has made a breakthrough with soccer rights in other key European markets with domestic rights to Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga, while it will show Spain’s LaLiga in the country from next season.
Scandinavian streaming platform Viaplay launched in the UK in November following its acquisition of Premier Sports, the Irish pay-TV operator.
The deal was a strategic move to bolster its portfolio of rights in the UK ahead of its entry into the territory.
The service presently holds UK rights to the Scottish League Cup, LaLiga, Italy's Coppa Italia, qualifiers for the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship continental national teams competition, and the UEFA Nations League.