Why Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United isn’t being shown live on TV in the UK today


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The Premier League is back and there are a number of exciting fixtures to look forward to this weekend, with reigning champions Manchester City hosting Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur entertaining Manchester United and a London derby in the shape of West Ham vs Chelsea.

All of those fixtures will be televised in the United Kingdom. But this week’s Friday night clash, between Nottingham Forest and Premier League new boys Sheffield United, will be impossible to watch live in the UK by legal means.

That decision has resulted in some understandable confusion, as Friday night fixtures have typically been televised.

Why isn’t the game on TV for domestic viewers? We explain all below.

Why is it not on television in the UK?

Nottingham Forest’s home game against Sheffield United was initially due to be played on Saturday at 3pm. But the game was moved from Saturday to Friday due to concerns over congestion in Nottingham. 

A pair of cricket matches, between Trent Rockets and the Oval Invincibles, are being played at Trent Bridge on Saturday afternoon. Trent Bridge is less than a mile from the City Ground, where more than 30,000 fans are expected to turn out for the visit of Sheffield United.

The game’s initial 3pm kick-off time meant it was not initially selected by the Premier League’s broadcast rights holders to be shown live. (The television blackout period in the UK stipulates that matches played between 2:45 and 5:15 cannot be broadcast domestically.)

And broadcasters are not allowed to add more games to their calendars. Across the season, 200 matches are shown live in the UK and broadcasters carefully select which games they choose. Of those games, rather unsurprisingly, Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United was not picked.


Time to end the 3pm Saturday blackout or is it needed to protect the pyramid?

I’m not from the UK! Can I watch it?

Lucky you, yes, you can. Outside of the UK and Ireland, all Premier League matches are allowed to be broadcast, so Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United will be available to overseas viewers.

In the U.S, it is being shown on the USA Network with streaming available via NBC Sports. In Canada, fuboTV Canada has the rights.

For the full list of rights holders to broadcast the Premier League, click here.

Has this happened before?

Yes — fans are regularly asking why matches being played outside of the blackout window are not available to watch on TV in the UK.

The most common kick-off time to be criticised is the 2pm kick-off on Sunday that follows a European match on the preceding Thursday evening. 

Having qualified for this season’s Europa League, Liverpool, Brighton and West Ham supporters in the UK will be disappointed to see a number of their fixtures moved from Saturdays without the option to watch them on TV, as might Aston Villa, who could qualify for the group stages of the Europa Conference League.

(Top photo: Getty Images)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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