FA Cup to return to free-to-air TV for first time in over 30 years

The FA Cup
is returning exclusively to free-to-air TV for the first time in more than 30 years in a deal that will see ITV join the BBC
as rights-holders.
It is understood an announcement is still some weeks away because contracts have not yet been signed.
But insiders believe an agreement that represents a major boost to the FA and the world's oldest cup competition will be reached.
ITV are said to be confident of agreeing a four-year deal that will start with the 2021-22 season and make them 'effectively equal' rights-holders with the BBC.
Not since 1988 - when Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang' famously beat Liverpool's 'Culture Club' - have the two channels shared the FA Cup coverage. 
The final is set to be available on both to mirror the arrangement that was in place between 1955 and 1988.
ITV are effectively taking over the package currently held by BT Sport, which raises further questions over BT's future as a leading sports broadcaster.
BT have held joint rights for the FA Cup with the BBC since 2014, but have seen Amazon break the stranglehold they enjoyed with Sky Sports over Premier League rights.
The FA Cup certainly attracts major television audiences on free-to-air channels. 
While last week's dramatic Champions League semi-finals peaked at 2.7million on BT Sport, the BBC enjoyed an audience of 7.6m for Manchester United's FA Cup fourth-round encounter with Arsenal this season.
ITV have not broadcast matches in the competition since 2014, when a six-year run in which it shared coverage with Setanta, ESPN and BT Sport ended.
It has exclusive live rights for England's European Championship and World Cup qualifiers until 2022, which it will seek to retain when that tender process is reopened next year.

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