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Premier League to keep Saturday 3pm blackout rule in place for foreseeable future

Sorry, local fans

Stoke City v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Part of the Premier League’s global appeal is the massive amount of history and tradition that serves as the foundation to a league that’s long outgrown their local roots, but one of the sillier aspects of all that is the archaic 3pm blackout rule that’s been in place since the 1960s.

Created to prevent that newfangled live broadcast television technology from destroying match attendances in the lower tiers, the blackout rule was and remains unique among all other top European leagues. Nowhere else do they believe that by preventing Joe London from watching Chelsea (or any other team, from any other league or country) on the telly (you know, the one with the penguin on it) between 2:45pm and 5:25pm on every dreary Saturday afternoon, will he then suddenly turn up to watch, like, Dulwich Hamlet instead. Up The Hamlet!

With the new TV rights package, for the period starting in 2025, going up for bidding soon, the Premier League are reportedly keeping the 3pm blackout, though will now at least show every other match live for the first time ever — even in the UK! Of course, in most other parts of the world, all games have been available to watch at any given kick-off time for a decent while now.

This rights package will cover games through the 2028-29 season (an extra year longer than previous deals), so perhaps by then, a bit more common sense will prevail when it comes to broadcasting football in the UK.

On a side note, it sounds like the new rights package will get rid of the Saturday 8pm kick-offs, which will surely be a welcome development for traveling fans. (But the Friday/Monday night games at that time will be kept.)

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