UK Blackout Window: The History
For as long as the Premier League has existed, there have been no 3pm kickoffs shown on television. But while many football fans take this for granted, many remain unaware of its origin.
The football blackout actually began back in the 1960’s, long before the inception of the Premier League. Chairman of Burnley, Bob Lord convinced other Football League Chairmen to put an immediate stop to the airing of 3pm matches on a Saturday.
The reasoning behind this decision was to protect the in-stadium attendance, under the belief that fans of lower leagues would watch high profile matches on television as opposed to supporting their own team.
This has remained ever since, with the exception of the FA Cup Final, which has been broadcast during the blackout window, since being moved to 5pm.
It’s not only English leagues which are affected by the blackout window, with Sky Sports also unable to show the first 15 minutes of LaLiga games which kick off at 5pm.
Social media has proven a particularly powerful method of communicating gameplay in recent years, with fans posting in their masses, following clubs’ feeds and joining in with discussions. Radio has also been a long-running method of following games throughout the blackout window.
Sky Sports have tapped into the enormous football fan base looking to consume their favourite sport in any way possible, introducing Soccer Saturday; a show which sees pundits commentate on in-game action, switching between presenters covering different games.
Combining football’s highly engaged audience and the long-running football blackout window, highlights shows such as Match of the Day continue to keep their enormous audience.