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SBD Global/November 20, 2017/Media

Premier League Matches Will Be Shown In Primetime On Saturday Nights

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Premier League matches will be shown in primetime on Saturday nights after club chairs "agreed to include the new slot in the next broadcasting deal," according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. A meeting of the top-flight clubs in London on Thursday "gave the go-ahead for the move, which means matches will go head-to-head with popular shows" such as "Strictly Come Dancing" and "The X Factor" as part of an increase in the number of live games. The league previously revealed plans for 7:45pm kickoffs on Saturdays, with the number of live TV games increasing from 168 to a maximum of 210. The new deal "comes into force" at the start of the '19-20 season. At the meeting, the clubs mandated Premier League execs to decide "whether to take packages of 190, 200 or 210 matches to market" when the tender for domestic rights from '19-22 is issued before the end of this year (LONDON TIMES, 11/17). The BBC's Richard Conway reported the Football Supporters' Federation said that it was "firmly opposed" to any increase beyond 190 live games -- half the Premier League's total fixtures. A statement read, "Any additional broadcast games would mean even more changes to kick-off times away from 3pm on Saturdays, with an impact of both uncertainty and inconvenience to the match-going fans, especially away fans, whose passion is a huge component of the 'product' that broadcasters want to buy and sell" (BBC, 11/17). The London INDEPENDENT reported Saturday night games will "compete directly with two of Britain's most-watched" TV shows. The BBC's "Strictly Come Dancing" typically attracts around 10 million viewers, while "The X Factor" on ITV brings in around 4-5 million. No Premier League game shown on a subscription channel "would ever get close to those figures" but it is a "bold move to try and compete, albeit a necessary one as Premier League clubs look to bring in football's biggest-ever broadcast deal" (INDEPENDENT, 11/17).
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