Very quietly reported is today’s very significant EFL story that the sub-PL tier in English football is working on dumping, at long, long last, the ridiculous 3-5PM Saturday blackout which has cursed British football for the best part of 60+ years.
Originally brought in by authorities in a bygone age, the purpose was to stop fans ignoring their local teams and staying at home on a Saturday instead to watch Man Utd. Indeed, it was believed a Hull fan would rather stay at home to watch Man Utd Stoke than travel to the stadium and watch his city side instead.
It was done to protect these local clubs, these smaller clubs, and eventually became national and was handed over to UEFA as the overarching authority which did it on behalf of British leagues.
But this is a yesteryear era, a time when such things were relevant.
During COVID, it was lifted, and for the first time in decades, a PL match was broadcast on a Saturday at 3PM to absolutely no fanfare at all – and this has given the EFL the appetite to dump the limitation permanently in order to get a stronger TV deal, just like Sweden have.
This is something that all football in the UK should follow on – the blackout is completely outdated, and as we’ve seen, there is zero evidence that football on TV stops any fan going to attend in person if they want to.
Rangers were on TV in European football countless times last season, but could have sold out Ibrox 20x over such was the demand for tickets.
And it’s the same this season.
Furthermore, it puts some credibility to the notion of Rangers going it alone and getting their own TV deal – let’s face it, the SPFL will never get a strong deal for Scotland, such is the product, and will never be interested in removing the Saturday blackout either – Rangers getting their own TV service and deal and being separate to the rest and, crucially, avoiding the appalling Sky Sports, would be a step in the right direction.
For now, the EFL have taken that step, and will profit hugely for doing so.
Might be worth Rangers taking their lead.