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Sunday Bloody Sunday & Premiership Football

 Sunday Bloody Sunday & Premiership FootballWhat’s your favorite day of the week?

If you ask most Brits, they’d say Saturday. If you ask Americans, I believe they’d answer Sunday. This may seem unimportant, but in the world of soccer — and especially the English Premier League — it means everything.

Having grown up in the UK, my favorite day of the week was always (and still is) Saturday. I’ve talked about this before in the EPL Talk Magazine, but Saturday morning was sublime for me. Playing football in the park with my mates. Rushing home to watch Football Focus on the BBC. Playing a few games of Subbuteo. And then watching BBC’s Grandstand, and holding our breath as the classified football results were announced. The trimphant day was capped off later by watching Match of The Day (after 10pm, if my memory serves me correctly), again on the BBC, where we would see the first TV images of the games played earlier in the day.

For Americans, the experience is much different — which I find extremely interesting. Sunday is the day of NFL football, while Saturday is reduced to “lesser sports” such as college football and the once-glorious institution (similar to how Match of the Day is revered) called “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” when you’d see highlights from a variety of B-rated sports.

What’s interesting is that Americans, by far, are much more religious than Brits. Not being American, I would surmise that religion and sports are able to survive on Sunday because NFL football on TV wouldn’t begin until early afternoon and by that point, church activities would be over.

When I started the EPL Talk web site in November 2005, I was under the impression that even though Sunday was “sport day” for Americans, that Saturdays would be busier simply because of the majority of Premiership matches happening on that day.

What I’ve found out is that Sunday is, by far, more popular in terms of traffic to the web site. The popularity of Sunday for Americans was reinforced by a recent interview with a Fox Soccer Channel executive where he said the highest ratings the network routinely got were for the Sunday match (11am ET).

Growing up in the UK during the 70s and early 80s, Sunday’s for me were all about a traditional roast beef lunch with Yorkshire pudding, and it was usually a family day where we’d take a trip somewhere or visit family. The only intrusion of sport on that day would have been the morning newspapers, which were chock full of transfer speculation and articles about the big matches of the previous day.

Of course, that’s changed since the early-to-mid 80s, and now with the Premiership, two or more matches are typically played on most Sundays. So football is now much more pervasive in the UK on the day of rest.

For Premiership teams, it’s important to realize the importance in differences between Sundays and Saturdays especially when clubs visit the country to play friendly matches. A match on a Sunday, I believe, would have an increased attendance over a match played on a Saturday.

Let us know what your thoughts or memories are regarding Saturdays or Sundays, and — if you’re American — how you’ve adapted to Saturdays being a bigger sports day (thanks to the Premiership) than what you were typically used to. Click on the ‘Comments’ link below.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

3 Responses to Sunday Bloody Sunday & Premiership Football

  1. Christopher V. Enger (aka fuegote) says:

    I’m American, a (true) football convert of two years and I can honestly say I have the best of both worlds.

    During summer when nothing but baseball is on, I have MLS action on Saturdays. The home games are an all day experience and the away games are times with the club where ever we can watch the match.

    When the Premiership starts up in August, it falls in line with American’s College Football season. On Saturdays I get the best EPL matches up until 2 EST, and have only missed 2 hours of the first batch of college football games.

    Sunday is the same, the big Premiership match ends (11:00 am est) right when the NFL games begin. (I’m at the point now that I would prefer an EPL match over an NFL game, so by 1:00 pm EST, the tele is turned off).

    I look forward to Saturday more than Sunday because of all the EPL matches available. thanks Fox Soccer and Setanta Sports.

  2. Danny Pugsley says:

    I think Saturday is still sacrosanct to the majority of fans in the UK, and the disruption to kick-off times (both to Sunday and the horrible Monday evening) is cited as a major reason for declining attendances.

    Personally, I prefer the late Saturday or Sunday afternoon game as I play myself so it is difficult to make the 3pm games.

    Although, to me Sunday evening over here in the UK is NFL night!

  3. Saturday at 3pm is the sacred time for football and that will never change, early saturday kick offs are the worst

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