Every Premier League game played behind closed doors could be broadcast next season | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
The Premier League are considering a U-turn on their decision not to broadcast every behind-closed-doors game next season and will meet with broadcasters next week to discuss doing so.
England’s top flight returns on 14 September but at least the first three rounds of fixtures will be played with no spectators due to the coronavirus crisis. A limited amount of supporters could return thereafter, but with clubs likely to be capped at 30% of the stadium’s capacity, there will still be a demand from fans – especially those who have purchased season tickets – to access games remotely.
In the tail end of 2019/20, this was combated by staggering matches, so that virtually no two kicked off at the same time. All matches were broadcast via Sky Sports, BT Sport, Prime Video and the BBC.
Liverpool are the defending Premier League champions | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
There was some surprise when the Premier League announced there would be a return to conventional fixture scheduling in the early part of 2020/21, despite the likelihood of reduced capacities for the foreseeable future.
But while the schedule isn’t likely to change, The Mail are reporting that the league are considering a U-turn on streaming all matches for fans. It’s claimed that most clubs agreed at Thursday’s shareholder meeting that fans should be able to watch games while unable to attend, and avenues will now be explored to make that happen.
In Scotland, all matches are streamed live to season ticket holders via club websites, while the EFL have adopted a similar policy for the early part of next season. The Premier League could follow in a similar vein, though it’s likely broadcast partners would be in charge of distribution, since 220 of the league’s 380 fixtures have already been handed out.
All matches could be broadcast yet again | Visionhaus/Getty Images
The groundwork was laid for a decision last month when it was reported that the FA has once again lifted the Saturday 3pm blackout, as they did last season for the first time in the Premier League era. The blackout is in place to encourage fans to attend matches rather than stay home and watch on TV, but hardly makes sense while attending matches is illegal.