FA Cup 2019 Kicks Off on UK TV with Live Streaming Options

fa cup on free to air tv in the uk

While the sun might be shining and the days may be warm, for many football fans the summer has been unbearable. With the Nations League long gone in our sights and no further international football to speak of, the wait has grown long indeed.

Fortunately, football’s welcome return is imminent. While the Premier League and Champions League are just around the corner, so too is the FA Cup – the best-known knockout competition in football. From the early rounds to the finals, you’ll be able to catch all of the giant-killing action on your TV or your mobile device.

2019 FA Cup on UK TV

The FA Cup is the oldest knockout football competition to take place anywhere in the world, meaning it’s laced with history and ceremony. Much of the romance of the Cup comes from the fact that any team can enter, giving rise to potential giant killing where sides featuring amateur players and semi-pros defeat the big boys. And while football leagues across the globe have since sought to re-capture the FA Cup’s magic by hosting their own knockout comps, there’s only one FA Cup.

Another plus for viewers is the wide range of options when it comes to watching the FA Cup. The FA Cup broadcasting rights are currently being shared by BBC and BT Sport, giving you a great range of coverage from the qualifying rounds all the way until the final. The current arrangement between the free-to-air and pay broadcasters is set to run until the 2020-21 season.  

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The FA Cup on BT Sport

BT Sport will be broadcasting an increasing number of matches this year, with the network covering up to 30 matches exclusively. BT Sport’s coverage will start in the First Round Proper, running all the way through to the finals. BT Sport will also air a number of matches simultaneously with the BBC, including the all-important final on May 23rd, 2020.

BT Sport’s legendary team of commentators and pundits includes Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, Ian Darke and Chris Sutton. From pre-match punditry to in-depth post-match analysis, BT Sport bring the FA Cup into your living room or your handheld device like never before.

The FA Cup on Free to Air (BBC)

The BBC are the official FA Cup free to air provider in the UK, and share the rights to broadcast the FA Cup with BT Sport. The BBC’s coverage is led by former Leicester City man Gary Lineker, with the company providing a range of new technological innovations to improve coverage over the next few seasons. While a deal struck earlier in 2019 between the Football Association and broadcasters will see the FA Cup screened exclusively on free to air, these changes will not come into effect before the 2021-22 season. Under the deal, ITV will take over the package of rights previously held by BT – while the BBC will continue to broadcast according to their current arrangements.

FA Cup TV Preview

At a time when many of the big competitions are continually won by the same handful of clubs, the FA Cup’s unpredictability has become perhaps its greatest asset. The early qualifying rounds start in August, bringing together non-league clubs from across the country. After the qualifiers conclude in October, the first round of the FA Cup takes place in early November. This is when the first league clubs enter – and where some truly magical examples of giant killing has historically taken place.

The second round proper is held on November 30, with the third round taking place on the 4th of January. The 2019 Premier League and Championship clubs enter in the third round, with the remaining non-league and lower league teams itching to have a go at the big boys. The knockouts continue through until the quarter finals in March, the semis in April – and the final taking place at Wembley on May 23, 2020.

The FA Cup’s reputation as being available to all has continued in recent seasons. While big guns like Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal have won multiple cups over the past fifteen years, there has also been success for smaller clubs. Minnows like Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth FC – in the second and fourth tier of English football respectively – have both won the Cup in that time. A number of other clubs have featured in the final recently, including Stoke City, Hull City, Watford and Crystal Palace.  

FA Cup Live TV Times (BST)

Date Event
August 10 2019 – October 19, 2019 Qualifying Rounds
9 November 2019 First Round Proper
30 November 2019 Second Round Proper
4 January 2019 Third Round Proper
25 January 2020 Fourth Round Proper
4 March 2020 Fifth Round Proper
21 March 2020 Quarter Finals
18 April 2020 Semi Finals
23 May 2020 Final

All dates shown as British Summer Time (BST), adjust for regional differences.

Watch or Stream the FA Cup live

As with previous seasons, the FA Cup will be shared by two of the UK’s best known sports broadcasters – BT Sport and the BBC. BT Sport is available with a subscription – either directly through BT or other providers which on-sell BT sports packages. BBC is available on free TV, accessible through your set top box or other receiver.

Want to watch on the go? Fortunately both have great mobile options to stream to your laptop, mobile or other device. The BBC allow you to watch on the go on any compatible device by downloading the iPlayer app.

BT also offers the option to stream the FA Cup free to eligible mobile devices using their mobile app, ensuring you won’t have to miss a minute no matter your schedule. BT TV has three packages – Classic, Entertainment and Max 4K – and all come with BT Sport. It should also be noted that BT Sport is offered by other providers. Sky offers BT Sport packages, and allows you to take the game with you using the Sky Go streaming app, for free.