Premier League television blackouts look set to stay in the UK. The English top flight has blacked out 3 p.m. local time games on Saturday afternoons for decades. Despite the English Football League (EFL) looking to scrap the blackouts, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has confirmed that they will remain.
“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,” Masters said of the blackout rules.
UK Premier League blackouts meant to protect stadium attendance
Article 48 of UEFA’s rulebook allows participating nations to ban matches on TV during certain time slots. The United Kingdom, Scotland, and Montenegro are the only areas that adhere to this particular rule. There are 53 member nations that are currently part of UEFA.
Blackouts inside the United Kingdom were put in place to help protect stadium attendance at matches. However, media rights deals have forced soccer fans in the UK to buy multiple TV subscriptions. Premier League fans need access to BT Sport, Sky Sports and Amazon Prime Video to watch live Premier League matches.
While blackouts are firmly in place in the UK, viewers in many foreign countries can catch all Premier League games. Here in the United States, soccer fans can stream every English top flight match via access to the USA network and Peacock Premium.
EFL currently negotiating next TV deal
The EFL has entered negotiations for their next media rights deal. Traditional networks like Sky Sports and modern services such as Facebook, Netflix, Google, Apple or Amazon are all reportedly in the running to secure a potential deal. Sky currently holds EFL television rights in the UK for about $142 million per season. A new suitor will have to possibly double this amount for the next deal.
ESPN+ currently streams EFL Championship games regularly here in the United States.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sebastian Frej