Why FA TV deal has forced Sheffield Wednesday to play Luton at lunchtime slot on Saturday

Sheffield Wednesday host Luton Town in Hillsborough in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday, but the kick off time is unusual for the cup competition.

The Owls will face the Hatters in a 12.30pm kick off, which is earlier than the traditional time for FA Cup third round action at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.



Even though Wednesday are used to having matches – like the upcoming Sheffield derby in March – moved for tv coverage, the cup fixture has been rearranged this season because of a new deal between the FA and overseas broadcasters.

Only ten of the 32 scheduled matches in the cup this weekend will take place at the traditional 3pm Saturday slot because of the new deal – and Wednesday’s match is one of eight that have been moved for international broadcast.

A number of matches will be shown live on tv in the UK by BT Sport and the BBC, but as Wednesday’s game has been designated as a match for overseas it won’t be available here.

The deal between the FA and broadcasters was signed in October 2016 and allows for games to be moved for viewers outside the UK.

They claim that the deal "will ensure The Emirates FA Cup’s status as the world’s original and greatest domestic cup competition."

The FA also added to the statement, revealing: "After an extremely competitive bidding process for the international rights to televise The Emirates FA Cup for the six seasons from the 2018-19 campaign through to 2023-24, The FA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pitch International to cover western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and with IMG for the rest of the world."

The financial terms of the overseas TV deal have remained confidential.