Vernon Kay, who had presented Channel 4's coverage of the NFL last season had confirmed earlier this summer that the broadcaster had decided not to continue its coverage of the sport, in the latest chapter in the NFL's mixed reception by UK broadcasters. Prior to Channel 4's acquisition of the rights, the BBC had shown NFL Sunday Night Football on its red button service.
Monday Night Football
In addition to Sunday Night Football, Sky Sports will also show Monday Night Football, part of deal reached between the NFL and Sky last year. Alongside Thursday and Sunday games, the deal provides viewers with more matches during the regular season. Sky Sports will also be showing exclusively live pre-season coverage for the first time in seven years, as New Orleans Saints host the Houston Texans on Sunday 30 August.
There will be all the drama and scores from around the NFL each Sunday of the regular season from RedZone, available via the red button and Sky Sports Xtra, which is available to customers through skysports.com and the Sky Sports iPad app.
Sunday Night Football is America’s most watched programme and from week five of the season, the NFL’s flexible scheduling ensures that a key match-up with playoff implications is featured.
Sky 1 simulcast
In the final six weeks of the regular season Sunday Night Football will also be simulcast live on Sky 1. Commentary comes from NBC's award-winning pairing of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
Jonathan Licht, director of Sky Sports strategy, said:
“We’re excited to add Sunday Night Football to our extensive NFL coverage this season. Viewers can now enjoy over 100 games a season on Sky Sports, which added to our digital and On Demand offering, makes it our most comprehensive line-up of NFL ever. NFL fans in the UK and Ireland are going to be in for a fantastic season.”
Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of NFLUK, added:
“We are very excited about Sky Sports' plans for NFL coverage over the next five years. The addition of Sunday Night Football this season will further deepen the outstanding partnership we have enjoyed for more than two decades and demonstrates Sky’s commitment to the sport here. We are looking forward to the programming and promotion of the NFL that they will be bringing to UK and Irish fans in this upcoming season and beyond.”
The schedule for week one of live NFL on Sky Sports has now been confirmed:
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
Thu 10 Sept midnight
Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Sun 13 Sept 5.30pm
Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens
Sun 13 Sept 9:00pm
Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
Mon 13 Sept 12:30am
Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles
Tue 15 Sept 12:05am
San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings
Tue 15 Sept 3:15am
Alternative ways to access coverage
Viewers without a subscription to Sky's satellite service can access NFL coverage via NOW TV, via one of the Sky Sports passes (current prices: day pass £6.99, week £10.99, month £31.99). The action will also be available via Sky Sports on Virgin Media and TalkTalk.