The 3pm blackout and the unintended consequences of removing it

Finchampstead in action. Photo: Andrew Batt.
Finchampstead in action. Photo: Andrew Batt.

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I ran a (very unscientific as it turns out poll) in the FiB WhatsApp group asking ‘Assuming everyone answering is a regular non-league match-goer, would the removal of the 3pm blackout affect your attendance at non-league games on a Saturday?’

Of course, I was asking inside my own bubble. 23 replied No, 3 replied Maybe and just 1 with Yes.

All the people in the group have already bought into the game at their local club. As have most regular supporters.

But it feeds this idea in my mind that I’m not sure how much effect it would have if it did do (constructive comments on why I’m wrong are very welcome).

The one thing I do think is that it’d take a few years before we discovered the extent of making the change – and a bit like VAR – if I’m wrong in my assumption it’d be next to impossible to put the genie back in the lamp.

“Why sit on the bench when you could be watching United (bad example) on the tele?”

The other solid reason for keeping the blackout, and this is argued by Steve Gabb, is the likely effect on participation at the lower levels – Step 6 and below. It is already a tough job getting teams out and this could push a lot of clubs over the edge. Why sit on the bench when you could be watching United (bad example) on the tele?

I firmly believe attendance at women’s matches would be much higher if the only window in the weekend for women’s games wasn’t 2pm on a Sunday – from the FA WSL down to the Thames Valley Counties Women’s Football League.

I get armchair fans are paying out £100s across 12 different subscription packages to not watch their team every week, but that’s another problem for another day.

It’s not broken, and thankfully it doesn’t look like it needs fixing anytime soon.

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