ALL 1,652 EFL matches will be screened if streaming giant DAZN wins the rights to matches from the 2024-25 season.
The huge change would see the end of the “medieval” Saturday 3pm TV blackout that has been in operation since the mid-60s.
DAZN are among the bidders for the next three-season package of EFL rights, with competitors including Sky, Viaplay and TNT Sports, the new name for what was BT Sport until the takeover by Discovery.
EFL bosses are looking to increase the current package, worth £119m per season, to £200m plus, a huge potential financial lifeline for struggling clubs.
But the DAZN option would see a huge increase in the number of games available including the traditional Saturday afternoon slot, currently protected from broadcasting by Article 48 of Uefa Statutes.
DAZN argues that under the current system, with matches on Sky, lower division fans are being starved of the chance to watch their teams unless they go to the matches.
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Only 20 games League One are shown each season, 10 in League Two and last season 26 of the 72 EFL clubs did not feature at all.
Sources close to DAZN, which boasts 20 million “premium” customers but a footprint across most major nations, suggest the existence of the blackout is a “medieval” anachronism which should no longer be part of the football structure in this country.
The blackout was introduced, at the instigation of then-Burnley chairman Bob Lord more than 50 years ago, in the belief that it would prevent TV football damaging attendances at other matches.
Prem chief executive Richard Masters declared earlier this month that he “didn’t see” the league’s backing for the blackout ending any time soon.
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But EFL chiefs will have the right to lobby the FA to end the restriction if they do a deal with DAZN.
It is understood that DAZN feels a streaming deal covering all games across the three EFL divisions – the company would also be seeing a terrestrial partner – would widen access to fans, not just in this country but worldwide.
The company is understood to be confident that there would be no detrimental impact on crowds and that by making the EFL games more widely available it would actually increase interest in match-day attendance.
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