DAZN has entered the race to become the EFL’s broadcast partner in a move which would signal the end of the traditional 3pm blackout on Saturday afternoons.
The sports streaming giant is aiming to secure the rights to show all matches across the Championship, League One and League Two, including those that have traditionally been unavailable to a UK audience.
DAZN currently has around 20 million subscribers across the world and it is best known in the UK for offering boxing entertainment after partnering with Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua’s Matchroom boxing in 2021.
DAZN’s entrance into the football market has the potential to transform the broadcasting landscape from the 2024/25 season. But who are DAZN and how fans reacted to their proposal to stream EFL matches? Here is everything you need to know.
What is DAZN?
DAZN is a live streaming service dedicated to sports and it provides fans with access to events, both live and on demand. DAZN subscribers can watch sports and original programming on multiple devices for a monthly price of £9.99 a month with no contract.
The sports streaming service was founded in 2015 in London and it has expanded to show content in over 200 countries since December 2020. DAZN is best known for its partnership with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing but it also provides coverage of women’s football and IPL cricket.
What’s been said?
DAZN have entered the race to broadcast EFL matches from 2024/25 and it has reportedly tabled a “significant” offer for global rights. DAZN have made their intentions clear to the EFL and believe they have the capabilities to show every league game across the three divisions through their over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
DAZN’s proposal includes behind-the-scenes footage, watchalongs and stats, while they also plan to launch an EFL version of the NFL’s RedZone, which essentially allows viewers to watch every goal as it goes in. The move would require the EFL to scrap their current broadcast model which only allows 138 games a season to be shown live and in turn move away from a blackout that currently prohibits live games being broadcast between 2.45pm and 5.15pm under a UEFA statute.
Who else is in the race for EFL TV rights?
Sky Sports have been broadcasting live EFL games since 2002 and they are expected to provide DAZN with competition for the rights to show matches. Scandinavian firm Viaplay and BT Sport are also expected to provide further competition to secure the TV rights. The EFL is aiming to secure a deal of around £200 million per season according to The Athletic, which is a huge rise from the current deal which is believed to be worth around £119 million.
What is the 3pm blackout?
The 3pm blackout is a rule which prevents any Premier League or EFL game being shown live on TV between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday afternoons. The rule first came into effect during the 1960s, an era when the TV became an everyday appliance in households.
The idea of the 3pm blackout was introduced as it was believed live television events would have a negative impact on matchday attendance for all fixtures. It currently falls under Article 48 of the UEFA Statues which allows leagues to designate a “closed window” for broadcasting.
What do fans think about the proposal?
A number of football fans have welcomed DAZN’s proposals to abolish the 3pm curfew.
James Howlett, a Sheffield Wednesday fan based in Paris said: “I feel it should be abolished. Currently in football you have the main players of Sky Sports, BT Sports and Amazon which fans pay a hefty amount to access, only to find that they still cannot watch all the games taking place.
“DAZN’s proposal shows that there is a sufficient demand from fans and this demand is not going away anytime soon and so lifting the ban is more likely to bring more revenues to clubs and allow fans who cannot physically watch all the 3pm matches to watch their clubs.”
Harry Taylor-Hughes, a Huddersfield Town fan believes that the move should only take place if it allows EFL teams to bridge the gap between the Premier League but fears the decision could lead to reduced attendances at games.
He said: “I can see both sides of the argument. There is a demand now that fans should be able to watch their teams wherever they are. If they did abolish the blackout I would like to see EFL clubs receive a good chunk of the TV money.
“The other side of it is that removing the blackout could make fans stay at home and not go to stadiums, which could be particularly damaging to smaller clubs with lower fan bases.”