The Football Association (FA) is thinking about getting rid of the 3 PM UK time Saturday blackouts for FA Cup fixtures. England’s governing body of the sport would, however, not officially make the move for a few more years. The Daily Mail reports that if the decision is confirmed, the blackouts would not be lifted until the 2025/26 season.
Blackouts are currently in place to help protect stadium attendance at games. Organizers claim that if every match was available to watch on television, stadium attendance would suffer. These blackout rules have in place in the United Kingdom for decades.
EFL, Premier League blackouts also being mulled
There has been plenty of recent discussions on the Saturday blackouts in English soccer. News surfaced last month that English Football League (EFL) officials are willing to end the 3 PM Saturday blackouts. However, Premier League organizers want them to remain in place.
“We’ve been proponents of Article 48 for the entire period of the Premier League and I don’t see that changing in the near term,” English top flight chief executive Richard Masters recently said of the blackout rules.
Ending blackouts would help increase broadcasting revenue
Nevertheless, the FA is considering ending the 3 PM Saturday blackouts in an attempt to boost broadcasting revenue. Putting an end to the blackouts would obviously allow the organization to sell more matches to broadcasters. This would help generate significantly more revenue for the parties involved.
Broadcasting negotiations for FA Cup matches are expected to begin this summer. The FA is apparently hopeful that allowing more matches to be aired will attract more streaming services. More potential buyers could very well make for a bidding war. A possible bidding war between broadcasters would theoretically mean more money.
It is thought that lower level clubs are supportive of the idea. These teams from lower tiers of the EFL pyramid believe that the current setup favors big Premier League teams. Removing the blackouts to generate more revenue would surely benefit the smaller clubs. These teams are historically more reliant on cup prize money compared to the big boys.
Photo: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images
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