Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Why Watching Live Football on TV at 3pm on Saturdays is Challenging

Saturday at 3pm has always been the traditional kick-off time for football in England. However, if you’ve ever tried to watch a game live on television at that time, you’ve probably discovered that it’s not possible in the UK. So, why is that? Is there a logical explanation for this restriction, or is it simply a decision made by profit-driven football executives? Let’s dive into the history behind this phenomenon and explore the opposing viewpoints.

The History Behind the Blackout

To understand why matches played between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday afternoon cannot be televised live, we need to delve into the mindset of football in the 1960s. At that time, television was still a relatively new invention and was met with apprehension by various entertainment industries, including football. Bob Lord, the chairman of Burnley Football Club, strongly believed that broadcasting football during its most popular time would negatively impact live game attendance, leading to long-term harm for the clubs. In fact, Lord went as far as banning the BBC’s cameras from Burnley’s ground, Turf Moor, for five years when the program “Match Of The Day” was first launched. Lord’s influence extended beyond Burnley, as he convinced other chairmen from the Football League to agree that football should not be televised between 2.45pm and 5.15pm. This collective decision has endured through the years, with the Football Association, the Premier League, and the Football League following the blackout ever since.

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The Opposition to the Ruling

While many supporters of the blackout argue in favor of it, not everyone agrees with the continued use of this restriction. Advocate General Juliane Kokott from the European Court of Justice has expressed skepticism about the blackout’s impact on match attendance. She argues that attending a live game and watching a match through a television broadcast offer different experiences. Germany serves as a case study, where Bundesliga matches can be fully broadcast without any restrictions. Despite this, attendances at Bundesliga games have not suffered. It is worth noting that German clubs offer season tickets at prices lower than the cost of attending a single Premier League game. However, it is unfair to suggest that English clubs are unwilling to lower ticket prices to attract larger crowds.

Further Complications and Exceptions

The ban on live football between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays applies only to English broadcasters. Viewers in other countries, such as America, the Middle East, and even Ireland, can watch the games without any restrictions since the timing does not align with their local schedules. The popularity of foreign football leagues, such as La Liga, Ligue 1, and the Bundesliga, among English audiences further complicates matters. These leagues often attract significant UK viewership. However, scheduling conflicts sometimes occur, causing delays in the broadcast of matches like El Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona. UK viewers have experienced frustration when kickoff times cater to Spanish viewers, resulting in delayed broadcasts.

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Q: Why can’t I watch live football on TV at 3pm on Saturdays in the UK?
A: The UK upholds a longstanding blackout that restricts the live broadcasting of football matches between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays. This blackout was implemented based on the belief that it would preserve live game attendance, benefiting football clubs in the long run.

Q: Does the blackout apply to all football leagues?
A: The blackout only applies to English broadcasters. Other countries may broadcast matches played during the blackout period without any restrictions.

Q: Has there been any opposition to the blackout?
A: Yes, there have been arguments against the continued use of the blackout. Some believe that it does not significantly impact attendances at live games and that the experience of watching a match on television differs from attending in person.


The broadcasting blackout between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays remains a topic of debate for football fans. While the origins of this restriction can be traced back to concerns about attendance, opposing viewpoints question its continued relevance in the modern era. However, for now, English football continues to adhere to the blackout, leaving fans to either attend games in person or seek alternative, albeit illicit, means to watch their favorite teams in action. To learn more about the world of football and stay updated on the latest news, visit Movin993.