The FA is considering dropping the 3pm TV blackout on Saturday for the FA Cup as they look to boost revenue for the competition, with the broadcasting giants waiting for rights.
- A blackout has been in effect since the 1960s to largely protect attendees
- Its continued existence has come under increasing pressure in recent years
- The FA’s interest comes amid a broadcast call from the EFL to bid for their rights
The FA is considering abolishing the 3pm TV blackout on Saturdays for FA Cup matches from 2025 in a bid to boost the value of TV rights for the competition.
The Premier League remains in favor of keeping their matches off television on Saturday afternoons, while the English Football League has yet to make a decision on the controversial issue despite broadcasters being invited to bid at 3pm in the 2024/25 TV rights auction. onwards. that are currently taking place.
It is also understood that the FA is open to giving up the blackout for the sake of its own competition, but in the belief that selling more matches will generate more revenue, which is passed on to clubs and the popular game.
Under the current four-year agreement with the BBC and ITV, a maximum of eight FA Cup ties per round have been broadcast live this season, with only four on weekends due to blackout restrictions, which prevent any TV coverage between 2.45pm and 5.15 p.m. Saturdays.
The FA is considering lifting the 3pm blackout for FA Cup matches from 2025 to try to boost the competition’s television value.
The FA Cup is bound by the same 3pm blackout rules on Saturdays as the leagues
The rules of English football state that no live action can be shown on television between 2.45 and 5.15 on a Saturday.
The Football Association will begin negotiations with broadcasters this summer for the next rights cycle starting in 2025/26, with Wembley executives convinced they will get a much better deal if shows at 3pm can be sold out. The removal of the blackout will likely invite offers from the new generation of streaming services in addition to traditional broadcasters, which will increase the price.
Lower division clubs are likely to welcome the move as it would result in increases in prize money and appearance money, which they feel is currently skewed towards the bigger clubs going through the latter stages.
Lifting the blackout only on the FA Cup would be less upsetting to English football than if the Premier League or Football League removed it, as FA Cup ties only take place on five weekends each year of the first round.
DAZN has launched a bid for the live TV rights to every EFL match from 2024-25
The Premier League’s support of blackouts is based on their belief that televising only half of top-flight matches increases their value, as well as a desire to preserve the sell-collect model and protect live attendance.
Significantly, the current Premier League rights holders, Sky Sports and BT Sport, are also in favor of maintaining the blackout.
With 1,656 games per season compared to the Premier League’s 380, the Premier League is exploring an alternative model and has received bids from several broadcasters including DAZN and Viaplay, but has yet to decide how to proceed.
The current dela area with Sky Sports allows 138 live matches to be shown each year, as well as the end of season qualifiers.