A mouth-watering 19 Sky Bet EFL matches will be screened live in December as part of a festive football feast on Sky Sports.
The televised matches kick-off with QPR hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday 1 December before Championship promotion favourites Newcastle United make the trip down the A1 to Nottingham Forest. Rafael Benitez’s side will be looking for a repeat of the last time the two sides met in 2011 when the Magpies knocked Forest out of the EFL Cup 4-3.
In what is the most wonderful time of the year for fans of the EFL, the opening weekend of the yuletide calendar sees two of the league’s highest profile clubs Leeds United and Aston Villa go head-to-head in front of the cameras. It’s their first meeting in almost 13 years and both sides will looking for some early Christmas cheer going into the busiest month of the campaign.
Sheffield Wednesday take a trip north to Newcastle United on Boxing Day evening with The Owls hoping to secure their first win at St James’ Park for 20 years. The clubs have met once before on Boxing Day with Newcastle the victors in a 2-1 win back in 1988.
The last televised match of 2016 sees Brentford play host to Norwich City at 5:30pm on New Year’s Eve, with the Canaries hoping they can get a repeat of the 3-0 victory they recorded last time the two sides met in the Championship at Griffin Park.
December 2016 also heralds the return of the successful ’10 in 10’ which sees back-to-back Sky Bet EFL matches screened exclusively live. It starts at Brighton’s Amex Stadium on December 9 and the Sky cameras will then travel almost 1,500 miles over a 10-day period before ending with QPR v Aston Villa on December 18.
Highlights of this season’s ‘10 in 10’ include high flying Huddersfield Town’s visit to Norwich City and the East Midlands derby between Derby County and Nottingham Forest. League One clubs are also represented with Bolton v Gillingham on Monday 12 December before Coventry City v Sheffield United 72 hours later on Thursday 15 December.
The increase in live coverage is once again expected to have a positive impact on attendances across the course of the month. Last season’s December fixtures attracted a record breaking 1.8 million fans through the turnstiles and the EFL’s 72 clubs will looking to break that figure in 2016.
Shaun Harvey, EFL CEO said: “League football has long been a much loved staple of the festive period and we’re confident that December’s TV selections will once again provide a unique platform for friends and families up and down the country to get together and watch their favourite their favourite EFL team.
“We are also delighted to welcome back ‘10 in 10’. It’s a campaign that in its debut season proved to be hugely successful and once again it gives us a real opportunity to focus on showcasing the very best of what the EFL has to offer.
“As a result of the heightened TV exposure 12 months ago over 1.8million people passed through an EFL turnstile and with this year’s fantastic line-up of fixtures we are hoping to top that number. We will be working closely with all of our clubs and our broadcast partner Sky Sports to make that happen.”
Sky Sports Head of Football Gary Hughes said: “We're very excited to offer fans 19 live matches from the English Football League in December, including 10 in 10, which was a great success last season. The festive period can be one of the most pivotal in the season and our customers can see it all unfold live on Sky Sports.”
The full list of matches to be shown live during the period December 1 – January 2, 2017 is:
Thursday 1 December QPR v Wolverhampton Wanderers 7.45pm
Friday 2 December Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United 7.45pm
Saturday 3 December Leeds United v Aston Villa 5.30pm
Start of 10 in 10
Friday 9 December Brighton v Leeds United 7.45pm
Saturday 10 December Preston North End v Blackburn Rovers 5.30pm
Sunday 11 December Derby County v Nottingham Forest 12.00pm
Monday 12 December Bolton Wanderers v Gillingham 7:45pm
Tuesday 13 December Norwich City v Aston Villa 7:45pm
Wednesday 14 December Wigan Athletic v Newcastle United 7:45pm
Thursday 15 December Coventry City v Sheffield United 7:45pm
Friday 16 December Norwich City v Huddersfield Town 7:45pm
Saturday 17 December Birmingham City v Brighton 5.30pm
Sunday 18 December QPR v Aston Villa (Lunchtime)
Monday 26 December Newcastle United v Sheffield Wednesday 7.45pm
Tuesday 27 December Brighton v QPR 12.30pm
Tuesday 27 December Derby County v Birmingham City 3.00pm
Thursday 29 December Aston Villa v Leeds United (TBC) 7:45pm
Saturday 31 December Brentford v Norwich City 5:30pm
Monday 2 January, 2017 Blackburn Rovers v Newcastle United 3.00pm