If the rumblings are to be believed, the 3pm blackout rule which prevents broadcasters from showing live football on TV could be scrapped in a huge move by the English Football League (EFL).
As per an exclusive report by Sportsmail, the EFL may be bringing an end to the footballing rule which has barred television from airing Saturday 3pm kick-offs for more than 60 years.
EFL shopping around for TV rights
The EFL is said to be awaiting fresh television rights bids from streaming services like Facebook, Netflix, Google, Apple and Amazon, as well as the current domestic rights holders Sky Sports and BT Sport, to air games in this slot.
According to the outlet, the tender document is understood to be a request for proposals rather than a fixed offering for games in the 2024/25 season.
As well as looking to innovate and mix up the broadcast market, the belief is that by selling more matches – especially ones that fans have been asking to be televised for decades – they can get a better deal than the current contracts.
The EFL have since issued a statement confirming that the “rights for all 1,891 matches across the League, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy and all end of season Play-Off matches are available for prospective bidders.”
Best estimates have it that they currently hold a £119million-a-year deal with Sky but are targeting a figure north of £200m. BT reportedly pays more despite showing fewer games.
At present, it is thought that there is no set number of fixtures or contract length and the footballing body, which includes the Premier League, is clearly willing to start airing the 3pm games.
His rationale was that airing these games in addition to all the others throughout the week would detriment matchday attendances at football stadiums around the country.
The decision was so far-reaching, in fact, that Article 48 of UEFA’s statutes allowed member nations to select a two-and-a-half-hour weekend slot where live football is banned from screens, though the rule didn’t have any actual impact in the UK until 1987 when ITV struck the first deal for football TV rights.
However, as has been proved throughout the modern football era in which the sport has been televised, the unparalleled experience of going to the footy has never really been threatened and fans still come in their droves, with very few seats left empty week in, week out.
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere and active experience of going and watching the game in person, but not everyone can make it to the ground, let alone fork out even more money for away days.
Moreover, the success of the televised 3pm games during Covid should be reason enough, not to mention it would cut down on illegal streaming.
For many, watching at home on the telly is their only option and it’s about time the 3pms were part of it. Make it happen, people.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott ‘working on plans’ to screen England vs France game at AO Arena gig
Paul Heaton has said that he’s ‘working on plans’ to screen the England vs France World Cup match ahead of his gig in Manchester this weekend.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott are set to play a huge gig at the AO Arena this Saturday – clashing with England’s quarter finals game.
Paul has said that they understand fans ‘might prefer not to miss the youthful looks of Jack Grealish’.
His announcement that they are hoping to show the game has drawn a mixed reaction from fans.
Many welcomed the news that they wouldn’t have to miss the huge match from the Qatar World Cup.
But others said that it would ruin the show, with one person tweeting: “Please don’t ruin the show with that. I’ll be wanting my money back if I’m going to see football rather than the music!”
Paul replied to say: “We won’t. We just have to make sure the place isn’t half full.”
He has now gone on to address the divided opinions on the football being screened at the AO Arena, sharing a photo of himself pulling a silly face with the words: “Me trying to work out what to do next Saturday @England @AOArena.”
Many fans have pointed out that Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott aren’t actually due on stage until 9pm and that, all being well, the game will be over by then anyway.
Others have pleaded that they don’t cut the show short to fit it in around the England vs France game, and wondered what it would mean for Billy Bragg’s supporting slot.
Jacqui Abbott hasn’t been able to perform with the group for the last few shows due to ill health, but it’s hoped she’ll be back on stage with her former The Beautiful South bandmate by the time they gig in Manchester.
The duo offered refunds to anyone who no longer wanted to attend the concerts without Jacqui after she was told to sit them out on doctor’s orders.
But Paul added: “For those who choose to retain their tickets for the next three shows, I promise you that myself & the boys will put on a show to remember. We’ll sorely miss Jacqui but our intent is to make those who refund their tickets bitterly regret that decision. Thanks for your support.”
The pair were on the receiving end of a lot of praise from members of the public after announcing the tour, and capping ticket prices at £30.
They went on BBC Breakfast to speak about rising costs in the music industry while promoting their new album.
He said at the time: “I’m very much against greed in the industry. I feel as though there is quite a lot. We are trying to just battle and say ‘we’ll do it for as low as we can’.”
They also said they want to ‘set a bit of an example’ for the rest of the industry.
Featured image: Publicity picture
Gary Neville is taking The Overlap Live on tour with Roy Keane, Jamie Carragher and more
Gary Neville’s The Overlap has quickly become one of the most popular sports podcasts in the UK and now they’re taking the hit Sky Sports show on the road.
The Overlap Live Tour was announced on Monday, 5 December, revealing four massive live shows across the UK and Ireland in 2023, featuring go-to guests Jamie Carragher, Roy Keane and more.
Due to high demand, a fourth show in Dublin was added to the list of dates which will no doubt please everyone’s favourite irritable Irishman.
The sports discussion podcast and YouTube show gives exclusive insights into some of Britain’s greatest athletes and a behind-the-scenes look at their lives outside of the sporting area.
While Neville and co. have held standalone live shows and fan debates before in the likes of London and Manchester, this is the first official Overlap Tour, with the run ending at O2 Apollo Manchester on 8 June.
Regular host Josh Denzel and Sky Sports’Monday Night Football presenter Kelly Cates will be joining them on their Overlap Live trip around the UK next year.
Used to heated discussion and no-holds-barred opinions, Gary said: “The reaction to the Wembley show has been brilliant so we are delighted to be able to confirm three new dates… It’s fair to say these will be lively shows and I think all three of us know exactly what we are in for!
“As with the Wembley show we’ll be opening up to questions throughout the night, which we might live to regret, but it should be interesting to say the least – particularly for me and Roy in Liverpool! Seriously though, these will all be great nights – so join us if you like!”