Tomorrow the fixtures are out. This news is always met with a great deal of excitement from Arsenal fans (and fans of all clubs). The key dates people look out for include Spurs home & away, who we will play Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. You always get that analyst who tries to show the Premier League computer is corrupt by highlighting how many (and how few) away games top sides play after Champions League ties.
This week the Premier League has also begun floating ideas in preparation for the next TV deal.
The ‘leak’ of information certainly feels political. When a party leaks a policy to garner public opinion to then decide whether to go ahead with it or not. Or they leak a more extreme version of the policy so that when the actual policy is announced, people think that’s not too bad even though it is still disastrous.
The Premier League is already planning to increase the amount of games sold to TV companies at home and abroad by around 25-30. This will leave them attempting to schedule more games in an already crowded weekend. With a ban on 3 o’clock Saturday games and the lunch time, early evening Saturday, and lunchtime and afternoon kick offs already talent up with various Premier League and Championship games, the schedulers will have to try and come up with new times and days to get everything scheduled.
The Friday night kick off proved to be very unpopular with a TV audience, and the Monday night kick offs fill match going fans (and the travelling faithful) with dread.
In recent days, the Premier League have floated / leaked two new options.
The first is to have an earlier kick off on a Sunday. Either an 11.30am kick off or noon. This will be horrid for away fans.
12.45 on a Saturday is already a nightmare. Especially if you have to travel the length of the country. I remember a game against Wigan resulted in a 6.30am start at Euston. The beer was flowing much to the horror of the general commuters. To then introduce an even earlier kick off on a Sunday morning – and perhaps over an hour earlier, simply does not take away fans into consideration.
Of course, we occasionally do get pre-noon kick offs on Saturday and Sunday. I remember Arsenal playing Spurs at 11.30 and noon previously. But these have always been local derby’s for security reasons. Not Newcastle travelling to Bournemouth for an 11.30am kick off.
If Arsenal were drawn away to Newcastle on a Sunday in August at 11.30am, it would be impossible to get a train from London to Newcastle. The first train in is at 11:38. Even for a noon kick off, this train is pushing it tight to walk up the hill to St James Park. This will be replicated up and down the country.
The Premier League could offset the issues by ensuring these kick offs involve local sides only. Arsenal playing Crystal Palace, or Manchester United against Everton. Southampton v Bournemouth. But they have never taken this into account previously and have always just given TV companies free reign over which games the pick for which TV slot, no matter the logistics of travel.
The early kick off would be for one reason, and one reason only. To increase the TV ratings abroad.
Noon would be 7pm in Bangkok, 8pm in Beijing, 4pm in Dubai. The early kick off will be to maximise profits in the East, ensuring they have at least 1 game on a Sunday in their prime time slots.
Now the foreign fans reading this will probably be thinking that’s brilliant, no more waking up at 2am to watch the EPL. Thank you much EPL. Well my response to the is F**K YOU. If you do not want to get up at 2am, support your local club. This will just be another move by the Premier League that shows they have 0 interest in the real fans, the local fans, and are simply just chasing the foreign billions.
The globalisation of football is ruining the game for the local fan.
Today we then have an announcement that the Premier League are also considering night games on a Saturday. 7.45 kick off.
This is the opposite of the early Sunday games. Instead of fans not being able to get to games, they will no longer be able to get a train home. Of course, this targets the lunchtime USA audience in the west.
The aim will be to attract a larger share of the TV audience in the UK, but it will be doomed to fail. Remember when BBC lost Match of the Day and ITV started broadcasting the highlights (I think it was called The Premiership? – Beautiful Day was the soundtrack). The show flopped. Why?
Because Saturday evening is family TV time. X-Factor. Britain’s Got Talent. Strictly Come Dancing. Beadles About. Noel’s House party. Light entertainment for all the family. The kids then go to bed. Watch the 10 o’clock news. Send the misses to bed and watch Match of the Day in peace.
7.45pm Saturday is simply not a popular time to attract big TV audiences for football.
All these floated ideas highlight is once again, the Premier League are more interested in the TV audience then the match day fans. Away sections will be empty for the early kick off Sunday games. Saturday evening will see grounds half empty as families decide to stay at home, as people have other things already arranged.
Match day fans are already stretched time wise. These moves could be the straw that breaks the camels back.
When we started SheWore.com in 2013 it was a risk. No one involved had ever ran their own website before. And with the Arsenal blogging world so over crowded, we wondered if it would really be worth it
Previously the articles and blogs ran alongside message boards creating a natural flow of traffic as people looked for a corner of the internet to discuss Arsenal. With the advent of Social Media, it became clear that message boards were about to die out, so the decision was made to create the blog as a stand alone to run alongside the Twitter and Facebook pages.
Yesterday we passed through the 2,500,000 views.
We would like to thank every contributor, every reader, everyone who has shared the blogs on social media, or emailed them to their friends (or in one case printed it off and bought it to the pub to show their mates
A special thanks to all those who have ever contributed to The Arsenal and Me. A brilliant collection of stories from old and young, around the world, male and female.
In 2013, even a hundred thousand viewers seemed a lot. We now get over a hundred thousand views a month. 2.5m views is an incredible considering we are not experts, not wannabe journalists, just a bunch of simple Arsenal fans who want to share their view.
We will as always strive to be better, increase the quality, and not stoop low with click bait headlines chasing the hits.
As we look forward to hitting 5m, the offer is always open to anyone who wants to share their view on the club, whether you be Wenger In, Wenger Out, or are simply Arsenal and have a story or view you wish to share. We want your blogs.
Thanks again to everyone. Up the Arsenal.