It's not even been a month since England's defeat to Croatia ended a campaign that had restored faith in the national team - and provided some glorious days and nights for the trade.

But now it's back to the day job. Here's our guide to the Premier League season ahead...

 

When does it begin?

Well, the football season is already underway as fans of clubs in the early European rounds will well know. The Premier League begins next weekend with live games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you can't wait that long don't worry, BT Sport will be broadcasting the Community Shield between Manchester City and Chelsea this weekend while Sky will be focussed on the start of the Championship season.

 

Which games will be on live?

Sky's coverage once again begins on a Friday night (August 10), and once again Leicester City are involved. 12 months ago they were on the wrong end of a seven goal thriller against Arsenal. This time they face a trip to Old Trafford. Sky follows this with a lunchtime game on Saturday August 11 between Newcastle and Spurs. BT Sport gets its Premier League season underway with a trip to newly promoted Wolves, who face Everton. And Sky look to pack out pubs with a double-header on Sunday. Liverpool face West Ham at lunchtime before champions Man City head to Arsenal for the start of the Unai Emery era. And that's just the first weekend...

 

 

Who's got what?

For now, it is a case of as you were, as we enter the final year of the current rights deal. Sky has the rights to 126 Premier League games and will show them at the usual times on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. BT Sport has the rights to 42 Premier League games and, for this season, will continue to show them on Saturdays, usually at 5.30pm, along with six midweek fixtures. Outside the Premier League, Sky has rights to the EFL, Carabao Cup and a host of international fixtures (including the new Nations League), while BT has sole rights to the Champions League and Europa League, along with the FA Cup.

 

I thought Amazon was getting a piece of the pie?

It is — but not until the start of the following season. The rights deals for the 2019/20 season were recently completed, with the online streaming service breaking the stranglehold Sky and BT have had for six seasons. That said, Amazon only has the rights to 20 games, played over two rounds of fixtures for three years. If the move works for the company, though, it could have long-term implications for the way live sport is screened in pubs and beyond.

 

 

What's happening with pricing?

We don't know whether Amazon's entrance into the market could mean pubs potentially need a third subscription. BT Sport has revealed some changes for the season ahead. It is moving the way it works out prices from the 2010 to 2017 rateable values. It is also imposing a price increase, capped at 4.9 per cent for current subscribers. Bruce Cuthbert, BT Sport director for commercial customers, said: "If you're an existing customer and your rateable value has gone up considerably, you will only be paying 4.9 per cent more for your package than last year. Some operators whose rateable value has gone down may get a price reduction, though others will still see a rise." Sky has also confirmed there will be some price rises but has promised that no pub or club will see a rise of more than five per cent.

 

Any extras?

Both main broadcasters continue to offer support to customers in the form of posters, point-of-sale, social media assets and advice. "This summer we are also launching a new range of free, game-changing support tools which will be available to every Sky Sports customer," says David Rey, Sky Business managing director. These include customisable fixture posters, a new social media tool designed to make things simple and a new training website, called The Training Ground, featuring bite-sized video content, best practice and guides to help customers understand and market live sport. BT Sport recently announced details of a link-up with Google to give 800 customers access to free digital training and will continue to run its successful BT Sport Pub Cup initiative and Manager of the Month campaigns.

 

And who's going to win the title?

If only we knew. Man City will be the favourites after romping to a record 100 points and finishing 19 points ahead of their closest rivals, Manchester United. That said, nobody has defended the Premier League title in a decade, so they might not find it such a stroll as last time out. Cardiff are the 2,000-1 outsiders... which is a long way short of the 5,000-1 you could have got on Leicester the season they achieved the unthinkable.

 

Premier League opening fixtures

 

 

Friday August 10

Manchester United v Leicester City, 8pm, Sky Sports, 

 

Saturday August 11

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur, 12.30pm, Sky Sports

Huddersfield v Chelsea, 3pm

Bournemouth v Cardiff City, 3pm

Watford v Brighton, 3pm

Fulham v Crystal Palace, 3pm

Wolves v Everton, 5.30pm BT Sport

 

Sunday August 12

Southampton v Burnley, 1.30pm

Liverpool v West Ham, 1.30pm, Sky Sports

Arsenal v Manchester City, 4pm, Sky Sports