PL clubs 'would show 3pm games on own TV channels' in Big Picture plan

Premier League clubs will be ‘allowed to show Saturday 3pm games to British viewers on their OWN TV channels’ under radical Project Big Picture proposals if traditional blackout rule is permanently lifted

  • Games kicking-off at 3pm on a Saturday have traditionally not been aired on TV
  • The blackout has been lifted since the COVID-19 crisis meant no fans in grounds 
  • Liverpool and Manchester United are behind the Project Big Picture plans 
  • An element is for clubs to air their Saturday 3pm games on their own TV stations

Premier League clubs would reportedly be allowed to broadcast Saturday 3pm matches on their own TV stations and online platforms under the radical Project Big Picture plans proposed at the weekend. 

Games kicking-off at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon have always come under the traditional British TV blackout, with only Premier League clashes post-lockdown with no spectators being aired on channels. 

But according to The Times, if the blackout is eventually lifted permanently, clubs would be given the rights to broadcast games on their own mediums as opposed to rights sold centrally, giving even more power and opportunity for profits to the so-called big clubs. 

Liverpool and Manchester United are behind the controversial Project Big Picture proposals 

One proposal is for Premier League clubs to broadcast Saturday 3pm games on their channels

The report details that the 20 Premier League clubs will debate all the Project Big Picture plans at a meeting on Wednesday, with the majority set to oppose the radical proposals. 

The ideas, put forward by the hierarchies at both Liverpool and Manchester United, have been met with hostility by both the government and the Premier League since their leaking in The Telegraph on Sunday. 

The broadcasting of matches at the traditional 3pm slot on Saturday is also part of their plans, with one document entitled Revitalisation reportedly stating: ‘The Premier League is supportive of the Saturday 3pm broadcast blackout to help protect EFL attendance. 

‘However, in the event that the Saturday 3pm broadcast prohibition is lifted in the future the matches that are currently not shown live in the UK (7+ per club) shall be prohibited from being added to the central package.

‘Those matches will revert to the clubs to be shown on club direct to consumer channels and digital platforms.’

Liverpool owner John Henry (L) and Man United chief Joel Glazer (R) are two of the key figures behind the Project Big Picture plans

Project Big Picture documents also say the Premier League could sell domestic and international TV rights on behalf of the FA for their prized asset, the FA Cup, with the league itself then keeping a portion of the money made from the sale. 

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Football Supporters’ Association labelled the controversial Project Big Picture proposals as a ‘sugar coated cyanide pill’. 

United and Liverpool,  as well as EFL chairman Rick Parry, have been the driving forces behind the plans for a huge shake-up within football but the drastic proposals have been met by fierce criticism throughout the sport.

And the FSA have now raised their concerns – claiming the long-term issues far outweigh the short-term financial benefits for clubs following the coronavirus crisis. 

EFL chairman Rick Parry also finds himself at the centre of the Project Big Picture storm

‘While Project Big Picture dangles an alleged 250 million pounds “rescue fund” in front of clubs to cover lost revenues during the 2019-20 season they might actually be a sugar coated cyanide pill,’ the FSA said in a statement when talking about the EFL bail-out – a major component of the previously secret project.

‘Apparently “money will be advanced to the EFL from increased future revenues”. Is there a guarantee that the money will even materialise? The entire package is based on projected revenues which are, in turn, based on the current media deal.

‘Under the proposals top-flight clubs retain eight games per season which they can sell directly via their own platforms, rather than broadcasting in the traditional manner. Would broadcasters pay more money for fewer games?’ 

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