30 Sep 2021
© Stephen Watson (BBC), Nicola McCarthy (BBC) and Gerard Lawlor (NIFL) at the announcement of the new deal

BBC Sport NI agrees new five-year broadcast deal with the Northern Ireland Football League.

Irish League fans will be able to enjoy 30 live streamed Danske Bank Premiership matches and eight live games on TV each season as part of a new deal between BBC Sport NI, the Northern Ireland Football League and the Irish FA.

As part of the new agreement, BBC Radio Ulster will continue its live commentary of games in the Premiership, the Irish Cup and BetMcLean League Cup. BBC Sport NI will also have comprehensive updates, reports and the latest news across its digital platforms.

With fans largely absent from grounds during the pandemic BBC Sport NI live streamed NIFL Premiership matches for the first time. Last season there were over one million requests for BBC NI’s live streaming and highlights coverage of the NIFL Premiership on BBC iPlayer. In addition, there were more than 1.5 million page views of live NIFL Premiership content on the BBC Sport NI website.

The first live-streamed game of the season will feature Glentoran v Coleraine on Saturday 16 October followed a week later by Dungannon Swifts v Carrick Rangers on Friday night (22 October).

Neil Brittain, Executive Editor BBC Sport NI said:

“The NIFL Premiership continues to go from strength to strength and we are proud to be a broadcast partner of the league.

“Record numbers of people came to the BBC to watch matches last year and it is great to have this new contract in place so that we can continue to offer comprehensive coverage for the next five seasons across BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport NI website.

“We also know how the Irish Cup is hugely popular with football fans with more and more supporters than ever before tuning in to watch over the last two seasons. I am pleased therefore that we have been able to extend our coverage to include live-streaming of every round of the competition as well as continuing to show the final live on TV every year until 2026.”

Gerard Lawlor, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Football League said:

“We’re delighted as a league to extend our long standing relationship with BBC Sport NI and we sincerely thank them for their substantial investment in our product.

“The coverage and support from BBC Sport NI has been a huge contributing factor to the recent growth of the Premiership and we look forward to the continuation of live games with the added benefit of our loyal fans now back in stadiums adding to the unique atmosphere of the Irish League.”

Live Games this season

  • Friday 1 October 2021 - Linfield v Cliftonville (TV) 
  • Saturday 16 October 2021 - Glentoran v Coleraine (Stream)
  • Friday 22 October 2021 - Dungannon Swifts v Carrick Rangers (Stream)
  • Friday 29 October 2021 - Carrick Rangers v Glentoran (Stream)
  • Friday 5 November 2021 - Larne v Crusaders (Stream)
  • Friday 19 November 2021 - Coleraine v Larne (Stream)
  • Friday 26 November 2021 - Glenavon v Linfield (Stream)
  • Friday 10 December 2021 - Ballymena United v Larne (Stream)
  • Friday 17 December 2021 - Larne v Linfield (TV)