The UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden has said “it wouldn’t send the best signal” if the Premier League remained on pay-TV if it has to resume with matches behind closed doors.
Speaking to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, Dowden said he had been having “productive talks” with governing bodies from across British sport on restarting following the coronavirus shutdown.
“I have said to the Premier League it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it,” Dowden continued.
Asked if that meant matches would be available via free-to-air channels, Dowden said: “I’m certainly not going to jump a further step ahead and start speculating about the platform upon which they might broadcast.
“To your point, if they are being mindful of access points that doesn’t just have to be going onto traditional terrestrial matches, or even showing all of the matches.
“There’s all sorts of creative options within that but it is something they should be considering, and they have said they are.”
Dowden acknowledged that many sports are “reliant on the revenue they derive” from broadcasting deals.
But he said that there were ways sport could have “elements of protecting revenue from broadcasting but also looking at ways of increasing access”.