EFL will consider lifting Saturday 3pm blackout in next TV deal
Lifting the Saturday 3pm blackout is one option the English Football League will consider in the sale of its next television and media rights.
The league confirmed on Wednesday it had issued a request for proposal (RFP), inviting interested broadcasters and media companies to come forward and suggest new ways of presenting the league on television and streaming platforms from the 2024-25 season, when its deal with Sky Sports expires.
Lifting the ban on screening any matches live between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday is an option being considered but nothing is off the table as the EFL seeks to find solutions which cater for changing viewer habits.
“Whilst the appetite for EFL football remains stronger than ever, we want to grow this audience further,” the EFL’s chief commercial officer, Ben Wright, said. “We are inviting proposals from organisations that can enhance and develop the league’s offering, taking a new and innovative approach to how people consume EFL content.
“Alongside the EFL’s rich tradition and distinguished history there is a desire to evolve, grow and innovate in order to grow our audience further and we’re looking for a partner or partners who share that vision.”
The blackout, which associations are allowed to impose under article 48 of Uefa regulations, dates from the 1960s and is designed to protect live attendance at matches throughout the football pyramid. It was temporarily lifted when spectators were barred from stadiums.
The EFL chairman, Rick Parry, said last October: “We are almost unique in Europe now in having a blackout period. I’m not presuming that it goes, but equally, if we’re looking at streaming, at new technologies and new broadcasters, we will probably have to be open-minded in terms of scheduling.”