Eleven Sports Breaks Controversial “Football Blackout” Rule in the UK

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated November 8, 2018

Football blackout is a concern for many football fans in the UK, as broadcasters are not allowed to stream matches on Saturday afternoons. Eleven Sports defied the “ban” that has been in place for decades and televised two European matches on Saturday last week. While the broadcaster did break the rules, football fans across the world have praised Eleven’s decision.

The issue with the football blackout rule is that fans are left with only two choices. Either they can purchase a ticket and watch the matches in person, or they can stream the matches illegally. The blackout rule went into effect back in the 1960s which led to football authorities “protect” their match audiences on Saturdays by banning broadcasts.

The company wrote on Facebook “We disagree with the ban and will continue to challenge it with the best interest of our customers at heart.” La Liga’s communication offer Joris Evers applauded the decision and stated “We support Eleven Sports in pushing the envelope in making matches available on Saturday afternoons. People are watching football either through piracy or on betting websites anyway, upholding the ban does not make much sense.”

With billions of football fans in the world and very little seating space in comparison, it makes no sense for the rule to still be in place according to Eleven Sports. For most fans, it is between the choice to see the streams illegally or not see them at all. Eleven Sports did not want to disappoint fans or lose out on potential revenue, which led them to stream the matches. On Saturday afternoon, the broadcaster showed the game between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao on September 29, and they did it again last Saturday.

The IPTV business in the UK is still rampant, and despite the recent action being taken against IPTV streaming services and sellers, football fans buy subscriptions in numbers to watch 3:00 pm games on Saturdays. If the ban on broadcasting is removed, it will bring official competition to the scene, and broadcasters like Eleven Sports will not lose out on potential revenue.

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