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Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United won't appear on live UK TV – the 3pm blackout no longer makes sense

By Robert Butler, Director of the Centre for Sports Economics and Law, University College Cork
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United will be watched live on television by football fans around the world – but not if they live in the UK.

The reason for this is the decades-old “3pm blackout”, a policy designed to protect match attendance and revenue in the era of live television. But in the world of streaming – and indeed, where live attendance is a COVID risk – is the blackout still needed?

In the early 1960s, the chairman of Burnley Football Club, Bob Lord, successfully lobbied other executives in the Football League to prevent…


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