Why is there still no football on TV on saturday afternoons?



Today on The History of Arsenal: the start of the run that led to Arsenal’s one and only relegation.

By Tony Attwood

I think it is only fair to say that the record of Chelsea in the last ten years, in terms of winning trophies, is one that most Arsenal supporters would be envious of.

Two keague titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, a Champions League in and a Europa League win.  And yet what do we find?  Headlines such as “Chelsea owners warned by fans of slide towards ‘irreversible toxicity’.”

You’ll know all about Chelsea’s current position.  From third two seasons ago they have sunk to 12th last season and 11th this season.   And the reaction against the current owners reveals that two seasons without a proper trophy after the Champions League title is unacceptable.

Which in turn shows that clubs that win things now come under constant pressure to keep winning immediately.  (Remember all the calls for Arteta to be sacked after Arsenal won the FA Cup, but then nothing more).

Indeed that is a major point: the media like fans to get worked up for the simple fact that this is a free story.  No need to go off and do tiresome research, just have a few fans expressing annoyance.  A negative banner in the ground can help.too.

The amusing thing of course is that such uprisings rarely help for the two proposed resolutions (new manager, new players) are both mostly result in more of the same. Arteta at Arsenal is an exception.

In fact out of the 17 clubs that were in the POremier League last season and this season 13 are within three positions of where they were a year before, leaving just four clubsthat have moved four places or more: West Ham, Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Brentford.

This lack of movement in the Premier League of course is not something that is much talked about because it goes against the image of the League being open and the result uncertain.

But such a view flies in the face of the reality that Manchester City have won five of the last six titles, a result that puts the Premier League alongside France (PSG winning nine of the last 11), and Germany (Bayern winning the last 11 in a row).  Spain we might note doesn’t fall into this category since it has had three different winners in the last three years.

But does it matter that Manchester City have won five of the last six titles and PSG nine out of 11.

Seemingly not for as Reuters reported, “French Ligue 1 matches have had record attendances in the first half of the 2023-24 season,…, as an average of more than 26,700 fans turned up at stadiums.”

That was an increase of 12% over the number in the previous season.  And that is not because this season is more competitive at the top – PSG are 12 points clear.  But it could be affected by the fact that the next five clubs after PSG are within five points of each other.

And indeed the same argument could be made concerning the Premier League: the games sell out almost all the time.  So although the media make a big fuss about seasons not being decided until the last moment, such eventualities really don’t make much difference to crowds.

This of course is all very different from some years ago when one could turn up for a 1st Division match, pay to enter, and experience a ground that was generally half full.  During that era is was said that people were not going to games as much as they used to because there were too many other distractions, ranging from TV to a greater desire to be at home with the family.

In fact the people who propagated the view that football could not be on TV because it would lower the crowds even more, have been shown to have got the argument upside down.  The more football there is on TV the more people want to be there, to be part of  the show.

And that is an interesting thought because the “don’t allow football live on TV” argument existed untested for years and years.   And it is still there with the argument that we cannot have live football on TV in England on a Saturday afternoon.

You might have thought that having been wrong with earlier suggestions about how negative an impact TV can have on football, we might have learned something.  But this is football, and as with changes in the league tables, things more slowly.


2 Replies to “Why is there still no football on TV on saturday afternoons?”

  1. I always thought that the ‘blackout’ was inherently unfair when one considers that many countries around the world CAN watch the Saturday 3pm kick-offs! Surely lifting the ban would also stamp out the ‘piracy’ of certain individuals and establishments in England?

    Perhaps some of them could be shown on non-subscription terrestrial channels as well as on pay TV. Plus, with TV channels now freely available as mobile apps, fans who also support non League clubs would still watch those teams and have the Premier League games on their device at the same time, possibly.

  2. Have to disagree.
    Teams like my birth town, operating in div 2 , would lose fans if 3pm matches shown, of that I have no doubt.
    I can watch them on iplayer etc and they get a small %of payment. But if it clashed with an Arsenal game then they would lose out.
    Better to leave 3pm games in broadcast and protect dibs 2.3 and national

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *