In Brief

Premier League 2016-17: How to watch the action this season

With Friday night games and highlights on Twitter, there's no shortage of ways to enjoy the football over the coming months

The new Premier League season kicks off this weekend and it promises to be a watershed campaign for armchair football fans. With a mammoth £5.14bn TV deal now in place, there will be more televised games than ever before, while the never ending rise of technology means there are now even more ways to catch up with all the goals.

Who's showing the games?

Just as they were last season, live games will be split between Sky Sports and BT Sport. When the rights were sold they were divided into seven packages. Sky bought five and BT two.

This means Sky will broadcast 126 matches and 42 will be shown on BT Sport. A total of 168 games means that around five matches will screened live each weekend of the season.

What time are the matches?

The seven packages were divided up according to kick off time.

Sky have Saturday lunchtime games, which will now kick off 15 minutes earlier than before at 12.30pm. They also have the Sunday lunchtime slot, the traditional Sunday 4pm kick offs and Monday night games.

This season will also see the introduction of Friday night football. There will be ten such games during the season and they will also be on Sky.

That leaves BT with the 5.30pm Saturday slot and occasional midweek matches.

Who gets to show the big games?

The packages also come with a certain number of 'first pick' games attached. There are 38 in total, one from each round of matches.

The Sunday 4pm slot still has the most first picks allotted to it – 18. And in total Sky will have 26 first pick matches, while BT can choose 12.

What about highlights?

For those on Freeview the BBC will once again show highlights on Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2 on Saturday and Sunday evenings, although viewers may want to miss this Saturday's edition as Gary Lineker will present it in his underpants after betting that Leicester would not win the title last season.

The Premier League website will also show goals, and for the first time Twitter users in the UK and Ireland will be able to watch clips via the @SkyFootball account, after the broadcasters struck a deal with the Premier League that allows it to post "near-live" highlights. Action from 3pm games will also be shown in Ireland, but not the UK.

The newspaper company News UK, which is owned by the same company as Sky, also has a deal that means highlights will be available on the digital platforms of The Times and The Sun. Match of the Day will be available on BBC iPlayer but not until two days after broadcast.

Any other technological innovations?

Both BT Sport and Sky will be broadcasting matches in ultra high definition this season.

So what's the best way to watch them?

It depends on how much of the football you want to follow. The website Money Saving Expert has tips to cut costs depending on what kind of a fan you are.

There are now so many different packages to suit different levels of interest, and different depths of pocket, that it's almost impossible to decide. At one end of the scale, having every game available in UHD can cost upwards of £80 per month, while services like Now TV offer day passes for Sky Sports for less than £10.

To add to the confusion, the two main broadcasters are also offering coverage of European leagues and competitions, while BT Sport has exclusive rights to Champions League and Europa League football.

If it all gets too much there's always the radio.

BBC 5 Live will have live commentary of 144 Premier League games throughout the season including matches that kick off on 3pm on Saturday, while talkSPORT will have commentary on Saturday and Sunday lunchtime games, plus some 3pm Saturday games.

When does it all start?

The season begins at lunchtime on Saturday when champions Leicester City face newly promoted Hull City.

Here's the TV schedule for August:

Saturday, August 13

Hull City vs Leicester City (Sky, 12.30pm)

Manchester City vs Sunderland (BT Sport, 5.30pm)

Sunday, August 14

Bournemouth vs Manchester United (Sky, 1.30pm)

Arsenal vs Liverpool (Sky, 4pm)

Monday, August 15

Chelsea vs West Ham (Sky, 8pm)

Friday, August 19

Manchester United vs Southampton (Sky, 8pm)

Saturday, August 20

Stoke City vs Manchester City (Sky, 12.30pm)

Leicester vs Arsenal (BT Sport, 5.30pm)

Sunday, August 21

Sunderland vs Middlesbrough (Sky, 1.30pm)

West Ham vs Bournemouth (Sky, 4pm)

Saturday, August 27

Tottenham vs Liverpool (Sky, 12.30pm)

Hull vs Manchester United (BT Sport, 5.30pm)

Sunday, August 28

West Brom vs Middlesbrough (Sky, 1.30pm)

Manchester City vs West Ham (Sky, 4pm)

Rachel Riley: Countdown to her debut on Sky Sports this season

08 August

Sky Sports have unveiled their new signings for the coming season - Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and former analyst Gary Neville, who returns to the broadcaster after trying his hand as a manager.

Although Neville was regarded as one of the best pundits on TV before he left to take charge of Valencia in Spain, it is maths whizz Riley who has dominated the headlines.

"Glamorous Riley, 30, a Manchester United fan, is best known for her role as co-presenter of the Channel 4 game show Countdown and is set to take a role as part of Sky's new coverage of ten Premier League matches on a Friday night," reports the Daily Mail.

Riley will be reunited with Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, who fronted the quiz show between 2008 and 2011, as she takes up hosting duties on Fantasy Football Club alongside Max Rushden and former Arsenal winger Paul Merson.

The news has been well received in most quarters. "Riley is incredibly popular across pretty much every demographic and certainly knows her football," says website Joe.co.uk.

"The fact that Sky plan to buddy her up with Countdown sparring partner and established Soccer Saturday favourite Jeff Stelling makes perfect sense. The pair have a great chemistry and you can easily see them combining match analysis with relaxed humour befitting a Friday night."

Neville, who was sacked by Valencia and also lost his job in the England set-up this year, will not return as a full-time Monday Night Football analyst but will be given a roving brief, says the Mail

"Sky said Neville will make 'guest appearances' on the popular Monday evening show and be involved in other coverage," adds the paper.

This season marks the introduction of the £5.36bn TV deal that has completely altered the financial landscape for England's top-flight clubs and could also herald a new era in the war between broadcasters Sky and BT Sport.

"Both Sky Sports and BT Sport will show more matches than ever before - 126 and 42 respectively - with the major addition to the schedule being the introduction of Friday night games," says the Mail.

"Sky broke the bank to get the lion's share of matches and therefore hold five of the seven time-slot 'packages' on offer from the Premier League. They will have the Saturday 12.30pm, Sunday 1.30pm, Sunday 4pm, Monday night and new Friday night matches - plus Bank Holiday and other Sunday slots.

"This leaves BT Sport with the 5.30pm Saturday slot and occasional midweek matches."

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