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The bidding has opened for the next tranche of Premier League television rights, with Sky and BT expected to fiercely contest the auction.

Broadcast rights for live games and highlights from season 2016-17 to 2018-19 are up for grabs, with more matches available than under the current TV deal.

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A total of 168 live games per season will be shown live on UK TV, up from the 154 currently available.

The games will be split into seven packages, with no single bidder able to claim more than five blocks of games, or 126 matches in total.

At present, Sky Sports shows 116 top-flight matches per season, while BT Sport shows another 38 - including 18 top-pick fixtures.

Under the next television deal, up to ten Friday night matches will be offered to the bidding broadcasters.

However, no games will be shown at 3pm on Saturday afternoons - in order to ensure maximum attendances at grounds across the country, and participation at all levels of the game.

Sky and BT are sure to contest the TV rights auction, but it remains to be seen whether any other TV provider attempts to muscle in with their own bid.

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