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TNT Sports purchase FA Cup TV rights: Fans label it a ‘disgrace’

TNT Sports have revealed that they have purchased the Emirates FA Cup TV rights for four years from the 2025/26 season. They have stated that more FA Cup games than ever before will be shown live on TNT Sports with live coverage of matches from every round from the first round through to the final.

The broadcaster have said that all non-3pm matches will be shown live from the third round onwards and that certain matches from each round will still be shown free-to-air. The competition has been shared by ITV and BBC for the past three seasons and the final remains a Group A listed event which means it has to be shown on free-to-air television by law.

In addition to the final, reports suggest that both semi-finals will remain free-to-air, however, there has been no announcement yet on which broadcaster will pick up the free matches. In unusual circumstances, it appears that TNT Sports, rather than the FA, will get to decide firstly which matches are free (aside from the final) and secondly where the free matches are shown live.

Mark Bullingham, FA Chief Executive, said: “The Emirates FA Cup is our crown jewel, and it helps us to provide vital investment across every level of English football, supporting clubs, communities, facilities and the wider grassroots game.
“Every season, and across every round, The Emirates FA Cup creates incredible moments and unforgettable memories for fans, and this new partnership will see selected matches shown live on TNT Sports, as well as free-to-air, from the first round of the competition through to the final at Wembley Stadium.”
fa cup broadcasting rights
The FA Cup will be shown on TNT Sports from 2025 onwards – Photo by Icon sport

FA Cup TV rights: Fans fume at TNT decision

To say the announcement has gone down badly with football fans in the United Kingdom would be an understatement. The FA Cups' popularity has been dwindling for some time with kick-off times putting off match-going fans and managerial team selections putting off viewers at home. However, it was still free to watch which made it, at the very least, accessible to all.

One fan took to X to vent his frustration at the decision. He said: “Absolute disgrace. The BBC / ITV hosting the FA Cup on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons should be mandatory”.

Another person said: “This is disgusting! The ONCE great FA Cup competition is now on TNT Sports from 2025/26, taking it away from the free-to-air channels BBC & ITV. So now they are expecting people to pay a subscription fee to watch it. The ONCE great club competition is now on its way out!”

One fan was particularly downbeat about the decision. They said: “This is depressing. The FA Cup being on free-to-air television was one of the last remaining things about the game that was a good thing for the working class.”

Despite the anger online, it's worth remembering that this isn't the first time the FA Cup has been shown on a subscription service. From 2014-2022, BT Sport shared the rights with the BBC and in the 2000s, Sky Sports had rights to the competition.


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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