The £200m EFL streaming and TV decision that could impact Sunderland, Burnley and Sheffield United fans
The EFL has offered to make every match available for live broadcast from 2024-25 in a groundbreaking move for football in the United Kingdom.
Under the current rules, any EFL fixture with a 3pm kick-off falls under the “blackout” rule, meaning the game cannot be shown on TV or streamed in the United Kingdom. The rule was set up to protect attendance figures and dates back to the 1960s.
At the moment, only overseas Sunderland fans can tune into the club’s streaming service to watch 3pm kick-offs. However, the EFL have confirmed that an invitation to bid for live rights will be sent out to interested parties in the next 24 hours – a move which could lead to the end of the blackout.
The EFL will likely target social media and streaming powerhouses, including Facebook, Netflix, Google, Apple and Amazon as well as the main domestic rights holders, Sky Sports and BT Sport.
Sky Sports currently hold the rights to broadcast elect Championship, League One and League Two fixtures in the United Kingdom in a deal worth around £119million-per-year, but the EFL have now made it clear they are willing to televise every game and scrap the 3pm rule.
It is thought that the EFL's proposals could generate new income streams for clubs with the board hoping that by selling more matches they can get a better deal of up to £200million-per-year, which could see Sunderland’s share increase with fans able to watch more games on their TVs or online.
The broadcast rights will be available from the beginning of season 2024-25 when the current five-year agreement with Sky Sports expires and rights for all 1,891 matches across the Championship, League One, League Two, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy and all end-of-season play-off matches are available to bidders.
EFL chief commercial officer, Ben Wright said: “With 54% of the UK population watching EFL football on television each year and a global audience of more than 400 million, it’s an exciting time to be going to market for the League’s broadcast rights.
“Whilst the appetite for EFL football remains stronger than ever, we want to grow this audience further. 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.”
Sunderland are next in action against Wigan Athletic at the Stadium of Light on Saturday at 3pm in the Championship, a game which could potentially be televised and streamed under the new rules should they come into effect for the 2024-25 season.