EFL clubs could soon have the TV cameras in on a Saturday afternoon. Pic: Getty Images.

Swansea City, Cardiff City And Newport County Await Major Call On TV Blackout

By Gareth James

Swansea City, Cardiff City and Newport County fans could be able to watch their teams perform live on their screens every Saturday afternoon within a couple of seasons.

Lifting the Saturday 3pm blackout is one option the English Football League could 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 current 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 ultimately 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.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry said a year ago that the league would not rule out lifting the blackout.

The block, which associations are allowed to impose under Article 48 of UEFA regulations, dates back to the 1960s and is designed to protect live attendance at matches throughout the football pyramid.

It was temporarily lifted when spectators were barred from stadia due to the coronavirus pandemic but restored for the current season.

 

Parry said last October: “I don’t see (an end to the blackout) as being essential. Having said that, I don’t necessarily rule it out.

“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.”

 

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