The National Football League (NFL) has a new free-to-air television home in the UK and Ireland with the announcement of a three-year partnership with ITV.
Sports Presenter of the Year Laura Woods will be joining award-winning analysts Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Super Bowl winner, and Jason Bell when ITV kicks off its coverage on Friday September 9 with the first in a series of hour-long weekly shows, airing at 11.30pm on ITV.
The 2022 NFL season kicks off the previous night when defending champions Los Angeles Rams take on the Buffalo Bills. ITV will air the climax of the season, Super Bowl LVII, live from Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday February 12, as well as two of the season’s three London Games.
The New York Giants will face the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday October 9, kicking off at 2.30pm UK time, before the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, October 30, kicking off at 1.30pm UK time.
Laura Woods said: “I’ve been a fan of the NFL for many years, so, with the new season just weeks away, I’m thrilled to be part of the team that will bring ITV viewers its best action and biggest stories each week.”
“We have seen the NFL grow to a level I could never have imagined from when I played here for the Giants in 2007,” said Umenyiora. “This new partnership can see us bringing the sport to an even broader audience. We have felt so embraced by British fans and we are excited that they will be able to watch us on ITV.”
Bell added: "I can’t believe the growth of the NFL, not only in the UK but globally, and I’m so grateful to be at the forefront of that. I can’t wait to expand the NFL audience with the new team at ITV...
"Osi and I are excited to be working with Laura and I know that our passion and energy will be exactly what existing NFL followers expect from us, as well as opening the eyes of new fans.”
The new partnership marks the NFL’s return to ITV for the first time since the network aired the last of its three consecutive Super Bowls in 2007.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “This deal will bring to ITV viewers the very best of the NFL each week in our highlights shows throughout the season as well as key live games. We’re delighted to be able to offer viewers, free to air, across our channels as well as the ITV Hub, the unique spectacle and action the NFL brings.”
Henry Hodgson, Managing Director, NFL UK, said: “This is another significant milestone for the NFL in this country. We have enjoyed seven fantastic years of NFL coverage on BBC TV and the time is right to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a new partnership with ITV...
"When you look at the development of the NFL in the UK in recent years – with momentum behind fan growth, more London games, successful British players in the NFL, the launch of an Academy and a charitable foundation – this announcement is another sign of our ambition to grow and develop the sport in the UK.”
Laura Louisy, Director, International Business Development and Media, said:
“We’re excited to announce this new partnership with ITV which, with the new and enhanced weekly Friday evening shows and live coverage of London Games and Super Bowl, will take the NFL’s free to air coverage into a new era and reach a new audience across ITV’s channels, to showcase to the UK what the NFL is all about: passion, unpredictable competition and exceptional entertainment.”
The weekly ITV show will focus on providing NFL fans, new and old, with an update on everything they need to know heading into each weekend of NFL games. The show will also be repeated at 8.30am on Saturdays on ITV4 and will be available on ITV Hub.
ITV’s NFL programming will also be broadcast on STV in Scotland and Virgin Media in Ireland, while all programming will be available on demand on ITV Hub, ITV Hub+, STV Player and VM Player.
This new deal adds to ITV Sport’s portfolio of first class events, which also includes the FA Cup, England Women’s football, the EFL, the 6 Nations, exclusive coverage of both the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup, UK horse racing and the Tour de France.