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Friday Freebie: Will the lifting of the 3pm Saturday blackout be detrimental to non-league?
The changing tides of football might sink its member clubs
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Listening to the Hard Truth podcast earlier this week they discussed the topic of the 3pm blackout on Saturday afternoons. For those of you don’t know what it is Article 48 set out by UEFA prohibits any matches being televised live at that particular time for two and a half hours.
You might wonder what it has to be do with non-league football as of course we don’t have televised 3pm games or even access to streams at that time unless you are abroad or going round the naughty way.
There are lot of people who attend non-league that support league clubs as well. Plenty can’t afford to watch home and away every week, even more common now with finances stretched for all and so they turn to watch their local non-league sides whilst still getting to league games, the best of both worlds.
Now imagine that 3pm blackout is lifted and those people now have access to watch their own side if they can’t travel to games and it’s priced reasonably too, this is where non-league comes into it.
That non-league club they head to every other weekend or a few times a year no longer has that person coming through the turnstile nor spending money on food and drink or lottery tickets or programmes.
To some that might not mean a lot, but how many of those 700 people inside the ground are watching for those exact reasons above and quite rightly decide to now stay home and watch their league team.
I would guess at a fair few and honestly I couldn’t blame them. It’s their team, the non-league team is the secondary thought but also a club that benefits off the back of this current blackout.
Whilst I agree I don’t think it affects attendances too much for league clubs should the blackout be removed it could have huge consequences for our non-league clubs.
Already we compete against European football every midweek night bar Monday, against Premier League matches moving around as well, I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to compensate every single non-league club should 3 o’clock kick offs be open for everyone to watch.
Would it mean some clubs going under eventually? That’s certainly something that I can see happening, and once one goes and a few more follow the game is on a slippery slope which won’t end well in the long run.
Those at the top level and even a few leagues underneath won’t be concerned at all, the money will come into them and keep their coffers flowing full or staying above the waterline. It could be a defining moment within the game and make it even harder to keep the pyramid in check, all for the sake of more money but not for everyone.