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Why Late Kick-Off Times Are Frowned Upon by Match-Going Fans

Why Late Kick-Off Times Are Frowned Upon by Match-Going Fans

Since the start of the Premier League in 1992/93, television broadcasting has had a tremendous impact on revolutionalising the league itself, skyrocketing the revenues of England’s top flight from £40m per year in 1992/93 to around £1.632bn per season in 2023, an eye-watering 3980% increase.

These figures have played a large part in helping the league grow and overtake the likes of Serie A and La Liga when it comes to overall facilities of the Premier League, alongside the competitiveness, as Premier League sides are generally able to purchase better players across the board, with Real Madrid arguably posing mainland Europe’s most sustainable threat to the recent dominance of English teams in the Champions League.

Always a Price to Pay

However, with TV broadcasting showing no signs of slowing down, there obviously comes a price to pay, which usually affects the regular match-going fan, with kick-off times regularly being pandered towards the TV audience.

This is unsurprising, as ultimately, the TV audience provides significantly more revenue/prize money than matchday revenue does, with Southampton receiving around £100m for the former after finishing 20th in 2022/23, while Manchester City earned £161m for winning the Premier League.

But, some consideration wouldn’t go a miss in a sport where fans are the heart and soul of the game, something which was more evident than ever during the 2020/21 season where the majority of the campaign was played out behind closed doors.

In recent years we have seen the return of Monday Night Football and even Friday Night Football, meaning that match-goers have to book time off work while even needing to often arrange travel and accommodation to ensure that they can get back home in a good manner.

In the 2023/24 season, there will be 128 matches shown by Sky Sports, 52 by TNT Sports who have recently rebranded from BT Sport, as well as 20 by Amazon Prime. Typically, with more games on TV than ever, the Premier League have introduced 8 pm Saturday kick-off times which have enraged regular match-goers.

Man City vs Newcastle: Saturday 19th August 2023 - 8 pm K.O

The first Saturday 8 pm kick-off of the 2023/24 season sees treble-winning Manchester City take on Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 19th August.

Of late, England is known to have inconsistent train timetables with a series of strike actions taking place and often reduced services, however, the train is a heavily utilised form of transport for both home and away fans that don’t have access to a car or local supporters clubs and like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on a matchday.

According to Trainline, the last train that you can catch from Manchester Piccadilly Station that will get you back to Newcastle after 8 pm is at 21:05 pm (21:32 pm at Manchester Victoria), meaning that you will more than likely have to fork out for a hotel on what is always a more expensive day to book accommodation for in a lively city such as Manchester.

Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Monday 14th August - 8 pm K.O

MNF is a time when we see superb coverage between TV pundits such as Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville on Sky Sports, however, it must be said that match-goers are glad to see their side avoid the Monday night TV slot as often as possible. Manchester United versus Wolverhampton Wanderers is the first MNF of the season.

Typically, the bigger the home side is in terms of reputation means that the match-going crowd will have members travelling from far and wide; with the Red Devils known for having supporters coaches that travel from as far away as West Cumbria and Bournemouth on a regular basis and in many cases even further away than the former while having a core of Mancunians at the stadium.

In terms of the away crowd for this match, there are no direct trains available from Manchester Piccadilly after the full-time whistle that would get Wolves fans back to Wolverhampton in time with the latest being at 22:03 pm. This time is unfeasible when considering the time it takes to travel across the city, as well as the wait time at either one of Exchange Quay, Old Trafford or Wharfside tram stops.

Below our tweet, you can see some of the mixed reactions that football fans have had to the recent addition of 8 pm Saturday kick-offs.