UK pay-TV channel Sky Sports is reportedly set to retain the broadcast rights to the English Football League (EFL), the organising body for the second, third and fourth tiers of English club soccer.
According to a report in British newspaper The Guardian, Sky has seen off a rival bid from UK pay-TV channel BT Sport. The competition between the two companies is said to have driven the rights fee to UK£180 million (US$234 million) per season, double the current value of the deal.
It is believed that the EFL and Sky are now in exclusive negotiations over a three to five-year deal worth between UK£500 million (US$650 million) and UK£900 million (US$1.2 billion).
Sky and BT did not comment when approached by the Guardian, though the publication reports that the league made a decision last Friday.
Asked for comment by SportsPro, an EFL spokesman: 'The EFL will not be making any comment on the sale of its domestic broadcasting rights until the tender process has been completed and the required approvals have been secured. There is no timeline or deadline in place to complete this.'
Later this year, Sky and BT will face off again when the Premier League rights come up for renewal in what could be a UK£6 billion (US$7.8 billion) broadcast rights auction.