(Cybertech) – The Premier League is back, but this season is starting like no other. However, unlike when football restarted in the summer everyone has a clean slate and there are new teams and new possibilities.
At the start of last season the share of live broadcast games was more complicated than ever with Sky, BT Sport and Amazon sharing duties. And with the Premier League restart in the summer, the BBC also had some live games.
How are things different from the end of last season?
Matches are still taking place behind closed doors for obvious reasons. All 28 games in September will be broadcast in some way or other – similar to the end of last season. Sky and BT had already chosen 17 of them – so of the remaining 11, Sky has six, BT three and the BBC and Amazon Prime one each.
There are a number of games that will be free to air – Sky has already announced it will make some freely available via Pick on Freeview in addition to the BBC game.
Because of the promise of the possible return of a crowd – which is now again in doubt thanks to the latest Government guidance – the Premier League has been reluctant to commit to promising that all games will be broadcast live past the end of the month. Howveer, that is the likely outcome given the current situation with Covid-19 in the UK.
The aim of broadcasting every game is to keep supporters away from stadiums and prevent people from gathering together to watch.
As before, the Premier League’s stated ambition is to complete remaining fixtures with home and away status preserved. However, there is the possibility of neutral ground matches though this didn’t end up happening in the summer.
The planned kick-off times for live matches also differ from traditional times to maximise the opportunities for broadcasting matches. Again, this is currently only planned for the duration of September, but we shall see.
Weekend matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):
- Friday 20:00
- Saturday 12:30; 15:00; 17:30; 20:00
- Sunday 12:00; 14:00; 16:30; 19:00
- Monday 20:00
Midweek matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):
- Tuesday 18:00; 20:15
- Wednesday 18:00; 20:15
- Thursday 18:00; 20:15
Premier League September 2020 fixtures
Saturday, September 12
12:30 Fulham vs Arsenal (BT Sport)
15:00 Crystal Palace vs Southampton (BT Sport)
17:30 Liverpool vs Leeds United (Sky Sports)
20:00 West Ham United vs Newcastle United (Sky Sports)
Sunday 13 September
14:00 West Bromwich Albion vs Leicester City (Sky Sports)
16:30 Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton (Sky Sports)
Monday 14 September
18:00 Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Sky Sports)
20:15 Brighton & Hove Albion vs Chelsea (Sky Sports)
Saturday 19 September
12:30 Everton vs West Bromwich Albion (BT Sport)
15:00 Leeds United vs Fulham (BT Sport)
17:30 Manchester United vs Crystal Palace (Sky Sports)
20:00 Arsenal vs West Ham United (Sky Sports)
Sunday 20 September
12:00 Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur (BT Sport)
14:00 Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion (Sky Sports)
16:30 Chelsea vs Liverpool (Sky Sports)
19:00 Leicester City vs Burnley (BBC Sport)
Monday 21 September
18:00 Aston Villa vs Sheffield United (Sky Sports)
20:15 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester City (Sky Sports)
Saturday 26 September
12:30 Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United (BT Sport)
15:00 Crystal Palace vs Everton (Amazon Prime)
17:30 West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea (Sky Sports)
20:00 Burnley vs Southampton (Sky Sports)
Sunday 27 September
12:00 Sheffield United vs Leeds United (BT Sport)
14:00 Tottenham Hotspur vs Newcastle United (Sky Sports)
16:30 Manchester City vs Leicester City (Sky Sports)
19:00 West Ham United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (BT Sport)
Monday 28 September
14:00 Fulham vs Aston Villa (Sky Sports)
20:00 Liverpool vs Arsenal (Sky Sports)
Premier League on Sky and Now TV
Sky remains the home of the Premier League on TV and it will show most of the upcoming games. Some of these will be free-to-air, on Sky’s free-to-air Pick channel that’s also available through other platforms like Freeview.
The broadcaster has teamed up with EA Sports to take the crowd noise from EA’s FIFA game, so there will be team-specific crowd noise that you can choose to hear (or not). So it’s Sky Sports Main Event if you want crowd noise and Sky Sports Premier League if you don’t.
Unfortunately, if you’re watching in Ultra HD you don’t get the choice – it’s mandated noise for you. Ultra HD games are once again available with Dolby Atmos.
Sky Sports is also available through Virgin Media and BT TV.
While Sky has announced HDR for Sky Q, this won’t be coming to Premier League games for some time to come.
Sky also introduced another feature called Sky Sports Recap where you can catch up on key highlights during live matches. Each game will have a live timeline so you can skip to particular points. Plus Fanzone will enable you to be together with others while you watch on TV. Though, in reality, this isn’t much different than being on a Zoom call at the same time.
Now TV is available through apps on various devices, of course, and you can use Now TV day, weekly or monthly passes to watch Sky Sports channels – the day pass is £8.99, week pass at £14.99 or monthly at £33.99. It’s great if you don’t have a Sky subscription yet would like to watch a Sunday of action a few times a season.
Premier League on BT Sport
BT will also broadcast numerous games this season, primarily in the Saturday lunchtime slot. BT viewers can turn on pre-recorded dynamic crowd noise to make the atmosphere more like it would be in a full stadium. They’re also debuting a service called Watch Together, which lets people using the BT Sport App to watch do so in split-screen with a video chat, so that groups of friends can – wait for it – watch together.
The broadcasts are available in HDR on compatible mobile devices – you can get the app on phones and tablets as well as Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox and PlayStation. They’ll also be available in 4K with Dolby Atmos if you have the BT YouView Ultra HD TV box, and in 360 degrees through the BT Sport App for those who want it.
Premier League on Amazon Prime
Amazon entered the fray last season and will again show 22 games this season over two matchdays – with an extra game currently slated for September. The Amazon games will also have the option of full-crowd ‘Stadium Atmosphere’ and the availability of match highlights. As before, you’ll be able to watch games on replay after.
All Prime Video fixtures will also have full pitchside, pre-match build-up with presenters and guests, including Gabby Logan, Roberto Martinez and Lee Dixon.
Premier League on Virgin Media
This season Virgin Media launched a new Bigger+Sports bundle costing £65 per month for new customers. For that, you’ll get all the Sky Sports channels in HD as well as BT Sport in HD and 4K Ultra HD.
Premier League highlights
As with last season, each broadcaster can show in-game goals and clips from its live games as they’re happening. Sky also shows extended highlights On Demand through its Saturday night Game of the Day and Match Choice.
Once more, the BBC will show Football Focus on Saturday lunchtimes, Match of the Day on Saturday nights – usually at 10.30pm and Match of the Day 2 around the same time on a Sunday.
There will be additional Match of the Day programmes to enable more fans – who now can’t go to the games of course – to catch up on the action. So there will be regular midweek editions and any other times when there are more than a couple of games.
Sky will once again show Goals on Sunday on Sunday mornings.
Like last season Match of the Day is available on BBC iPlayer earlier than previously, though not as early as many would be like. The Saturday night programme is available from 7pm on Sundays and Match of the Day 2 from midnight on Sunday into Monday.
While the latter is close to broadcast, the Saturday night show is nearly 24 hours later and it’s because of other highlights packages and shows such as Sky’s Goals on Sunday that have the right to be shown first.
Writing by Dan Grabham.