Sunday Bloody Sunday & Premiership Football
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.