Football Blackout Lifted

The Football Association (FA) has lifted the Saturday afternoon 3pm blackout for the upcoming football season, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The blackout was introduced in 1980s, preventing games with a 3pm kick-off from being shown live on TV. This is to encourage fans to attend matches, and promote participation at grassroots level.

The move should mean that all Premier League matches will be available on TV, although the platforms showing the additional matches are yet to be confirmed.

Games are still being played behind closed doors, although it is planned that limited numbers of fans will be allowed to attend from the end of October.

BBC Premier League Record, Success for Hamilton on Disney+

Attracting a peak audience of 5.7 million, the BBC has set the record for the most viewed Premier League game with their broadcast of Southampton vs Manchester City. The previous record was set by the Manchester United and Manchester City derby game in 2012, which was viewed by 4 million.

Although not normally a rights holder for live premier league games, the BBC is showing 4 games live due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Disney’s switch of the release of the musical Hamilton to its Disney Plus platform appears to have been successful, with data from Apptopia showing the app had been downloaded 513,323 times over the July the 4th weekend. The recording of the Broadway musical was scheduled for cinematic release.

Additionally, there have been 71.5 million worldwide downloads of the Disney Plus app since launch. This figure excludes India or Japan, where the service has been integrated into existing apps.

Changes for Pick Ahead of Live Football

Sky owned Pick has made a few changes ahead of the broadcast of live football from Friday.

The most noticeable change is a tweak to the brand, with the Sky Pick name being adopted, along with a new logo in the corporate Sky style. This is likely to be the first time viewers will have been made aware of the channel’s owners.

New high-definition (HD) feeds have appeared. On satellite, a new HD outlet has opened, and is available on both Sky and Freesat on a UK spot beam, without encryption.

The use of a UK spot beam is crucial, as the Premier League (and other sports) have carriage deals with other broadcasters in other countries. Therefore, if the channel was carried on a Europe wide beam, it would need to be encrypted to protect the rights of other broadcasters.

This means that the standard definition version on Freesat will not carry football, as the channel is available on a Europe wide footprint. Additionally, the +1 timeshifts on both Sky and Freesat will also not carry football, neither will the Irish versions of the channel.

On Virgin Media, Sky Pick has switched to HD, although viewers may not immediately be aware as the HD suffix has not been added to the channel name.

Free to Air Premier League

With the remaining Premier League football matches to be held behind closed doors, a number of broadcasters have announced they will showing games free to air.

The BBC will broadcast four games live, in addition to its Match of the Day highlights programmes. The channel to show these matches is not known, but is likely to be BBC One or the BBC Red Button service.

Sky owned free-to-air channel Pick will be showing 25 games live, with the first being Everton v Liverpool, which will also be simulcast on Sky Sports.

Amazon will be streaming 4 matches on its platform Amazon Prime platform, without the need for subscription. The exact matches are yet to be announced.

This leaves BT Sport as the only rights holder to have not announced any free to air coverage.

Including the free to air matches and those as part of subscription services, all remaining Premier League games will be televised live.