Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: TV Coverage to Start 15 Minutes After Game Kicks off

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 02:  Gerard Pique (L) of Barcelona reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Real Madrid after referee Miguel Perez fined Pique with a yellow card for fouling Ronaldo during the la Liga match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 2, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Television viewers based in the UK are likely to miss a goal from the home side in Saturday evening’s Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, following revelations that the first 15 minutes will not be aired live.

As reported by David Kent of the Daily Mail, a UK regulation prevents the screening of live football between 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoons.

Kent provides the details:

The rule was introduced when live television coverage of matches became commonplace as authorities were concerned televised 3 p.m. kick-offs would have a detrimental effect on attendances …

Sky Sports Two will start screening their live coverage of the 5pm kick-off Camp Nou clash at 5.15 p.m., after five minutes of build-up.

The timing issue will likely see viewers miss a Barcelona opener at Camp Nou, based on the statistics of this season.

Over the course of nine La Liga matches in the 2013/14 campaign, Barcelona have scored six goals inside the opening 15 minutes. That suggests they are more likely than not to score early against their bitter rivals.

Madrid, by contrast, have been extremely slow starters. Carlo Ancelotti’s men have only found the net once in the opening 15 minutes, per ESPN FC.

However, Kent provides research into the six most recent Clasico meetings, offering Madrid fans a decidedly better picture. All three early goals in the last half-dozen Clasicos have been scored by a Madrid player.

The TV blackout is an unfortunate consequence of a regulation that is aimed at protecting the very heart of English football.

By banning TV coverage on a Saturday, fans are encouraged to attend games, which puts more money into the sport and makes the Premier League the spectacle it has become today.

The fact it applies to foreign football is—on the surface—rather more questionable.

However, by also applying the restriction to foreign leagues, TV organisations are prevented from airing 3 p.m. kick-offs from the Bundesliga or La Liga, which would arguably tempt a significant percentage of fans to stay in front of their TVs rather than supporting their local club.

Saturday’s clash marks the Clasico debuts of Gareth Bale and Neymar. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, though, remain the star attractions—once the coverage kicks in.