The latest EFL TV selections have been revealed by broadcaster Sky Sports for the next few months, and it’s caused a stir.
TV selections are bound to frustrate fans, and you can see the reaction further down in this article, as always with these picks, bound to see some controversy.
As usual, just the Championship have been picked, with Leagues One and Two not being shown, leaving many fans questioning why they are being ignored.
Friday 8 March – Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United – 20:00
Saturday 9 March – Cardiff City v Ipswich Town – 12:30
Sunday 10 March – Huddersfield Town v West Bromwich Albion – 12:00
Friday 2 February – Bristol City v Leeds United – 20.00
Sunday 4 February – Middlesbrough v Sunderland AFC – 12.00
Friday 9 February – Sheffield Wednesday v Birmingham City – 20.00
Saturday 10 February – Ipswich Town v West Bromwich Albion – 12.30
Sunday 11 February – Coventry City v Millwall – 12.00
Tuesday 13 February – Bristol City v Southampton – 20.00
Tuesday 13 February – Swansea City v Leeds United* – 19.45
Wednesday 14 February – Millwall v Ipswich Town – 20.00
Friday 16 February – West Bromwich Albion v Southampton – 20.00
Saturday 17 February – Plymouth Argyle v Leeds United – 12.30
Friday 23 February – Leeds United v Leicester City – 20.00
Saturday 24 February – Hull City v West Bromwich Albion – 12.30
Friday 1 March – West Bromwich Albion v Coventry City – 20:00
Saturday 2 March – Huddersfield Town v Leeds United – 12:30
Tuesday 5 March – Ipswich Town v Bristol City – 20:00
Tuesday 5 March – Sheffield Wednesday v Plymouth Argyle* – 19.45
Wednesday 6 March – Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion – 20:00
Here’s how fans reacted to the latest EFL TV selections revealed by Sky Sports for February and March…
@BillsFanUK: Cardiff away now a 12.30 KO 😂 Really care about the fans
@Tangled_BRFC: Punching the air seeing that no Rovers game have been selected.
@SWFCJR: smashed on tv twice in 4 days 😮💨
@GeorgeTheBaggie: Okay now this one has annoyed me #wba
@danwba_: You’re taking the piss stop giving us 12:30 kick offs #wba
@wbarenno: 6 out of the next 8 games have been picked for Sky 🤦🏼♂️🤷♂️ with the Cardiff game being on the red button 😃 7 out of 8 , Sky Sports Albion
@_MattyHawes: Always thinking of the fans 🤔 #itfc
@stevojacks75777: 12:30 kickoff what a joke #itfc
@nathanswfc04_2: tuesday friday ahahahah fuck off sky also, reyt idea putting us and leeds on a friday night, would you like a reminder of what happened the last time we played on a friday night after not playing each other for a while? #swfc
@RyanHLUFC: What could possibly go wrong 😂
@theleedsfan2: What a joke
EFL DATES FOR TV SELECTIONS
Remainder of August Selections for 13 August to 31 August by 8 July
Selections for 03 September to 17 September by 29 July
Selections for 01 October to 22 October by 26 August.
Selections for 29 October to 12 November by 23 September.
Selections for 19 November to 03 December by 14 October.
Selections for 10 December to 01 January by 04 November.
Selections for 14 January to 04 February by 03 December.
Selections for 11 February to 25 February by 06 January.
Selections for 04 March by 03 February.
Selections for 11 March to 15 March by 10 February.
Selections for 18 March by 17 February.
Selections for 26 March (Int Break) by 24 February.
Selections for 01 April by 03 March.
Selections for 07 April to 10 April (Easter) by 10 March.
Selections for 15 April by 17 March.
Selections for 22 April by 24 March.
Selections for 29 April by 07 April.
Selections for 06 May by 01 May.
Meanwhile, the EFL confirms its stance on a potential scrapping of the 3pm television blackout rule.
Clubs in the English Football League are to have their say about potentially scrapping the 3pm television blackout rule this summer.
The rule, which was brought into force back in the 1960s, bans live football from being shown on TV between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday. However with people’s viewing habits changing and the pandemic seeing blackout rules temporarily axed, it raises talk of Saturday 3pm games being made available to broadcast.
However, contrary to various reports, the EFL aren’t said to be actively promoting this outcome but do insist that member clubs who want change can talk about it during this summer’s AGM which takes place in June.
When football returned after the Covid break in June 2020, all EFL games were broadcast over the iFollow streaming service with fans unable to attend matches. This included those taking place at 3pm on Saturdays.
The temporary rule was got rid of for the start of the current season, with no restrictions on attendances inside stadiums and this meant lower amount of games streamed over iFollow, instead showing them during midweek but only if they weren’t already on Sky Sports. Speaking in October 2021, the EFL’s chair Rick Parry refused to rule out the prospect of the law being scrapped.
He said: “I don’t see (an end to the blackout) as being essential. Having said that, I don’t necessarily rule it out. We are almost unique in Europe now in having a blackout period. I’m not presuming that it goes, but equally, if we’re looking at streaming, at new technologies and new broadcasters, we will probably have to be open-minded in terms of scheduling.”
Any plans to scrap the rule would need to be passed by UEFA. Of what we know already, the decision to keep or axe the Tv blackout is a mixed one. Bradford City CEO Ryan Sparks told i news that he was in favour of the 3pm blackout being axed.
He said: “I know there’s people asking: ‘Will away fans still come?’ It’s a fear for League One or League Two clubs but they are two different markets. People who want to go to away games will still go to away games – the numbers don’t change when we have midweek games that are on iFollow. What you do get is a not inconsiderable extra revenue stream from those who wouldn’t go to the game but buy an iFollow pass. It is about opening up that new revenue stream.”
In contrast, The Football Supporters Association chairman Malcolm Clarke said earlier this season that he saw “no reason” to change the current broadcasting rules.
Another reason to raise discussion is the EFL’s existing TV deal with Sky Sports, who this season will show a total of 228 live games, is due to end in 2024 and ITV had won a two-year deal to show highlights of the competition, starting from the new season.
Huge changes announced by EFL in landmark broadcasting deal with Sky Sports
EFL clubs have unanimously approved a record domestic rights deal with broadcaster Sky Sports worth £935m over a five-year period with over 1,000 matches to be broadcast each season – a record number of games for any club football agreement.
Running from season 2024/25 to season 2028/29, the arrangement will be made up of guaranteed payments of £895m and £40m in marketing benefits. In total, 1,059 EFL matches are set to be broadcast exclusively across existing Sky Sports channels or live via a Sky Sports streaming destination available on TV and mobile devices.
Increased value and promotion
The new deal represents a 50% increase on the value of the current rights agreement and will see significantly enhanced exposure for all EFL clubs provided through on-air and digital support from Sky Sports to promote EFL competitions, clubs, and community initiatives.
Each season, Sky Sports will broadcast a minimum of:
- 328 Sky Bet Championship matches
- 248 Sky Bet League One matches
- 248 Sky Bet League Two matches
- All 15 Play-Off matches
- All 93 Carabao Cup matches
- All 127 EFL Trophy matches
Each League weekend fixture round will see 10 live EFL fixtures shown. Five matches will be shown from the Sky Bet Championship and supporters of Sky Bet League One and League Two teams will now benefit from greater coverage than ever before with five of their games being broadcast live. For the first time ever, fans will be also able to watch every match from the Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy.
All opening, final day, and midweek fixtures in the Sky Bet EFL will be shown live as will all games played on Bank Holidays including Easter, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day alongside the matches played in Sky Bet League One & Two during international breaks.
Increased notice for fans
With the substantial increase in the number of live matches, Sky Sports and the EFL will introduce a new commitment for clubs and fans which will provide longer notice periods on TV selections. The defined notice periods will enable clubs and fans to plan further in advance and this will include the placement of all live matches selected for broadcast for the period to FA Cup 3rd Round before the start of the season. Greater parity in the number of times that clubs are selected for TV coverage is also guaranteed.
Article 48 to remain
The new deal allows for ‘Article 48’, the blocked broadcast period between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday afternoons to remain, meaning that main broadcast fixtures will be scheduled for outside of this time. Final fixture slots will be confirmed at a later date.
From the 2024/25 season onward, this agreement makes more matches available to stream and will effectively replace the current Sky Sports EFL red button coverage and the EFL’s domestic streaming option provided via iFollow and club streaming services. Domestic streaming audio services will remain alongside existing audio-visual arrangements for international audiences via iFollow and club streaming services.
Enhanced production values and camera numbers
The EFL and Sky Sports will continue to work together to innovate, seeking opportunities to improve coverage and take viewers closer to the action, while the EFL will be investing significantly in production infrastructure to enhance the viewing experience. Sky Sports will have a minimum of eight cameras for each game broadcast on existing channels. For matches available to stream, Sky commentary will be provided and a minimum of four cameras will be used at Championship and League One matches, and a minimum of two cameras in League Two.
Commenting, Chief Executive of the EFL, Trevor Birch said:
“After completing an extensive tender and negotiation process, this is a landmark broadcast deal for EFL clubs, establishing the League as a premium partner with a world-renowned broadcaster in Sky Sports.
“The EFL is an iconic sports property and one of the biggest and best attended Leagues in European football. This increased investment and coverage from Sky Sports will showcase much more of our compelling match action to fans, while delivering record rights values as we seek to make our clubs sustainable at all levels.
“For decades, Sky Sports has been a fantastic broadcast partner for both the EFL and English football, helping our sport grow through its sustained support, so we are delighted to announce this innovative agreement that combines the strength of an established brand with a modern streaming service for the benefit of EFL clubs, fans and Sky Sports alike.
“With some 20 million attending Sky Bet EFL matches each season and significant interest in the League at home and abroad, we look forward to growing our collective fanbase further and we’d like to thank Sky Sports for its ongoing commitment to the clubs and the communities which this investment will directly support.”