The English Football League (EFL) is considering lifting the Saturday 3pm blackout as part of the sale for its next round of television rights.
A request for proposal (RFP) has been issued inviting interested parties to suggest new ways that its rights might be exploited from the 2024-25 season. UK rights are currently held by Sky Sports as part of a five-year contract. 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.
“Whilst the appetite for EFL football remains stronger than ever, we want to grow this audience further,” EFL 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.”
The 3pm blackout prevents broadcasters from screening any live domestic football between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday. There are also limited restrictions on midweek games. The restrictions are in place to protect attendance at smaller clubs, which might suffer, were a top-flight game to be available on television on a cold, damp Saturday in February.
Matches that kick-off at 3pm continue to be shown live overseas.
The restrictions were lifted briefly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bidders must submit responses by 5pm on 21 November 2022.