07 February 2008

Next stop, franchising...

I was happily surfing the 'net today and found saw this disturbing piece. The Premiere League today agreed in principle for each to team to have to play an additional match. Opposing teams will be selected by a random draw, and the game will then be played on neutral territory - not Wembley, not the Millenium Stadium but virtually any country on the planet, in any city. The Premiere League's motivation for this is that it will give fans in overseas countries the opportunity to see a live game. In my opinion, there are several problems with this idea, a few of them are:
  1. Local leagues not appreciating the intrusion. Whichever country is hosting a game, it will mean revenues for that local league are likely to be negatively affected. The rationale for this is that fans will pay more to watch the Premiership game, and therefore not attend local fixtures. Additionaly, sponsors would rather put their money towards something that is going to get a world-wide screening.
  2. Fixture congestion getting worse. Premiership teams can currently expect play games in (depending on their position) the Premiership, the FA cup, the Coca Cola cup, the Champions League or UEFA cup and pre-season friendlies/tournaments. Add to this, International commitments and the players themselves are going to be reaching a point of burn-out very much earlier in the seasons, and potentially their careers.
  3. Local teams draw local fans. Something that is apparently hard to fathom for some, but (with a few notable exceptions), a team's fanbase comes from the immediate vicinity surrounding it. Is a Wigan - Derby match played in Bangkok going draw local interest? No disrespect to either team, but they do not have "marquee players" like Ronaldo, Rooney, etc.

I hope the Premiership see sense and avoid this stupid idea. However, their Chief Executive (Scudamore) seems to have little respect for the common fan, even though they were the ones that got him here in the first place.

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