Staggered FA Cup third-round kick-off times explained despite not being on TV

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Sixty-four teams remain in the hunt for FA Cup glory come May but the third-round schedule continues to treat fans as an afterthought.
Sixty-four teams remain in the hunt for FA Cup glory come May but the third-round schedule continues to treat fans as an afterthought.

It used to be one of the most anticipated weekends of the season but as the importance of the FA Cup's third round has eroded, many supporters have found themselves more disconnected than ever by a schedule that is increasingly at the behest of the FA's global broadcast partners.

This weekend 10 of the 32 ties will be broadcast live on UK television - starting with Manchester United and Everton's clash at Old Trafford last night and concluding with Arsenal's trip to Oxford United on Monday night.

But another dozen games have had their kick-off times moved from the traditional 3pm on Saturday to satisfy other broadcast agreements across the world.

That includes the all-Premier League meetings of Crystal Palace and Southampton, which will now be at 12:30pm on Saturday, and the "District Line derby" between Brentford and West Ham five hours later.

In 2016 the FA agreed a six-year contract with marketing agency Pitch International to manage broadcasting rights in Western Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. That deal was reported to be worth about £820m to the governing body.

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Fourteen months ago Pitch agreed a new four-year deal to retain the rights for an additional four seasons.

Just three of the eight games being staged tomorrow are going to be shown on British screens - with one of those, Aston Villa against Stevenage, available behind the BBC red button.

Staggered FA Cup third-round kick-off times explained despite not being on TVUnai Emery's Aston Villa will face Stevenage behind the BBC's red button. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

BBC and ITV now share the domestic coverage, with the former taking five games and the latter four for the third round. S4C are also set to show Wrexham’s trip to Coventry on Saturday.

DAZN broadcast the competition to eight European countries, while Bein hold the MENA rights.

ESPN possesses the rights to show games in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, with most on their streaming platform.

The FA maintains its deal with Russian broadcaster Match TV despite many leagues cutting ties with the country following last year’s invasion of Ukraine.

The third-round ties on UK TV

Friday night: Manchester United v Everton (ITV).
Saturday: Gillingham v Leicester (12:30pm, BBC1), Tottenham v Portsmouth (12:30pm, BBC red button), Coventry v Wrexham (5:30pm, S4C), Sheffield Wednesday v Newcastle (6pm, BBC1), Liverpool v Wolves (8pm, ITV4).
Sunday:Cardiff v Leeds (2pm, ITV), Aston Villa v Stevenage (4:30pm, BBC red button), Man City v Chelsea (4:30pm, BBC1).
Monday: Oxford United v Arsenal (8pm, ITV).

The other games moved for global TV

Saturday: Preston v Huddersfield, Reading v Watford, Forest Green v Birmingham, Crystal Palace v Southampton (all 12:30pm), Brentford v West Ham, Luton v Wigan, Grimsby v Burton (all 5:30pm).
Sunday: Derby v Barnsley, Bristol City v Swansea (both 12:30pm), Stockport v Walsall, Hartlepool v Stoke, Norwich v Blackburn (all 2pm).

Alan Smith

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