One of the world’s most watched football matches, El Clasico will be blanked from TV screens in the United Kingdom because of its kick-off time.
Spanish football fans back in UK will not see a kick of the first El clásico of the season as La Liga’s scheduled kick off time clashes with the English Premier League.
Barcelona will host Real Madrid on Saturday, December 3, in the 1st meeting of the campaign between the great rivals.
But the 3.15pm kick-off time (GMT) is a direct clash with an extended standing rule in agreement with the FA, Premier League and football league that prohibits football from being televised live between 2:45pm and 5:15pm on a Saturday anywhere in the United Kingdom.
That means La Liga lovers back in blighty face having to wait to watch clasico in highlights packages while the Nou Camp classic will be visible in over one hundred countries elsewhere round the world.
La Liga’s recent penchant for scheduling Barca or Madrid games during England’s 3pm window is part of a concerted world development drive that is also supposed to eat into the Premier League’s global audience.
By choosing 2 of world football’s biggest brands to contend with the increasingly drab Saturday afternoon kick-offs in the EPL, La Liga are claiming leading audience shares in an ever-increasing number of key markets.
La Liga president, Javier Tebas revealed, “With these kick-off times we have more than doubled income,”
The 3:15pm kick-off makes the game watchable in the USA, where La Liga has just opened up a development office, China, and South America, as well as most of Asia.
But United Kingdom audiences are going to be deprived because of regulations that appear evermore out of touch with the modern world.
While originally the blackout was brought in to prevent TV games from affecting attendances further down the leagues, the European Court of Justice ended in 2011 that “closed periods” do not encourage fans to attend other games at all.
“It has not been adequately shown to the Court that the closed periods actually encourage attendance at and participation in matches,” wrote Julian Kokott, attorney general of the ECJ.
That will be of very little consolation to football fans in the British Isles who, instead of watching Neymar, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and chums face off with Cristiana Renaldo and Gareth Bale, will be forced to make do with a blank screen and delayed highlights