Premier League Considers Allowing Clubs to Play Matches Overseas

Premier League logoPremier League executives are discussing proposals for clubs to play one match a season overseas when the international TV rights deal comes up for renewal in 2010, according to The Daily Mirror in an article entitled “United’s Friendly Match is a Taste of Things to Come.”

The reason why the Premier League is considering this revolutionary idea is because the international TV rights deal could soon be worth more than the domestic TV deal in the United Kingdom. If this does happen, which looks very probable, then the Premier League will value the international rights deal as being able to produce more revenue for its clubs.

The proposals that are being considered would schedule matches overseas beginning as soon as the 2010/2011 or 2011/2012 seasons. Clubs would play one match overseas at a pre-determined location.

It looks most likely that Asia will host most of these matches. There are massive opportunities for the Premier League and its clubs to make enormous amounts of money in Asia, particularly. Two reasons are that the current TV rights deals are severely undervalued, which means that the clubs will receive much more money when the new deals are negotiated. Plus, the sheer size of the population in Asia means that there’s a larger opportunity to win new fans over translating into shirt sales, merchandise and sponsorship deals.

My personal opinion about this is that I would love to see Premier League matches overseas, especially in the United States, but this is for purely selfish reasons. My major concern is if the Premier League moves ahead with these proposals, this will destroy a lot of what we love about the Premier League. Here’s what I would see happening as a result:

  • The decision would cause a major schism between the Premier League and the fans of the twenty clubs. As a result, supporters will feel even more distanced from their clubs and you can expect to feel less atmosphere at domestic matches in the U.K.
  • The gap between the Premier League clubs and Championship sides will become even greater. With more money pouring into the Premier League, there’s no way that newly promoted Championship League clubs can compete with the teams. They can’t now, but the gap would be even worse if these plans go through.
  • Die-hard fans would lose faith. For many local supporters, this would be the last straw for them regarding the support of their team. If they need more proof that the game is all about money, then this is the biggest piece of evidence that could smack them in the face. I can envision irreversible damage being caused by these proposals which would hurt the hardcore fans in England. I don’t believe this would hurt attendances, however, since for most clubs there’s such a demand for tickets even at today’s high prices.

If the Premier League moves forward with these proposals, it’ll compete head-to-head with the NFL in seeing which league can generate the most amount of revenue worldwide. The NFL is currently winning the battle despite the fact that the Premier League is the world’s most popular sports league.

13 thoughts on “Premier League Considers Allowing Clubs to Play Matches Overseas”

  1. Good post Gaffer.

    I see more and more die-hard fans turning towards the Championship and even some foreign leagues (i’ve spoken on-line to a few Brits who follow MLS now not because of Becks but because of the salary cap and competitive balance)if this were to happen. A blatant cash grab that threatens the whole league system in England IMHO.

  2. I think your second bullet point is inevitable; lower league sport, any sport, will never attract global interest to even a fraction of a degree of the top flight. That said, I have seen the odd Championship game and even lower teams in FA Cup action on FSC & Setanta… the same can’t be said of the Spanish, Italian or French lower league clubs.

    Your first and third points are variations on the same theme and while I suspect you’re correct to a degree, I wonder whether the fans you mention are in the majority or not? What we’re talking about is a club playing 18 instead of 19 home games. OK, so my club goes overseas for 1 game and raises the profile and revenue for the club… you’d have to be pretty small-minded to think that’s a bad thing, no? And maybe, just maybe, with only 18 home games to sell seats for we’ll see less empty seats in the stadiums.

  3. The problem with a lot of English soccer fans and even fans of other leagues across Europe is they haven’t moved into the 21st century. They still think today’s game is the same as when they were growing up, when the atmosphere at games was electric and it was all about the fans.

    Today’s game isn’t even a game, it’s a business. Fans seem to be blissfully ignorant to this and are trying to resist change even though they have no control over it. If the Premier League wants to go overseas to make more money and raise its profile by attracting a new fan base, they’ll do it in a heartbeat, with or without the approval of an individual club’s fans.

    European soccer fans need to get with the times and accept that the game is no longer about what’ s best for them, it’s about making money. By comparison, American sporting fans have understood this concept for years now and have found a way to deal with it.

  4. Kartik, you are a little shit to continue to post here and to also compliment the gaffer whose unprofessional behavior towards Soccer America and Paul Kennedy should deem this website off limits to anyone trying to be taken seriously. You have your own show with the 2Gs. Certainly Graham and Gary wouldn’t condone you posting on a site that rips the most widely circulated soccer magazine in the nation, would they?

  5. It would be sad day when the Premiership plays abroad. I could never sanction such a thing. I disagree that we should accept the fact that the game is a business now rather than a sport. We shouldn’t be promoting such ideas because where would your loyalties lie, with some fat suit who wont be there in 5 years, or with clubs that have been around longer than our grandfathers? Not only would playing be detrimenatal to the integrety of the clubs, but also to all sport. I, for one, would never forgive the directors who would plan to do this, and I’m sure many others wouldn’t either.

    BTW ‘EPL isn’t the only league in the world’ this is a free forum and everyone has a right to post what they want, free from being attacked and slandered. F@ck off back to where you came from and stop infesting this site with you crap. Kartik is a respectable fan and so is the Gaffer. Please can we just leave all this rubbish about the Houllier interview alone now and move on.

  6. The issue here isn’t whether Kartik is a respectable fan. It is whether he is a hypocrite or not. A few weeks ago he and Dave Denholm had a great show firing us all up about EuroSnobbery, which was best exemplified by the Gaffers post. Actually that wasn’t Euro snobbery it was Brit snobbery. When you’re a Brit the way France develops its players is secondary to what goes on at NewCastle.

    Secondly, Gaffer’s post was insulting and really smacked of an absolute lack of respect for a publication which is considered by many the mothers milk, the bible of soccer in this country.

    But I digress. My point is that Kartik passes himself off as the leader of the American Soccer movement and waves the flag all over the web and on his show but then like a hypocrtical little shit is sitting here defending the Gaffer and continuing to post here on other issues. I loved his show and loved his work until I saw this. Now I realize he’s just an egotistical hypocrite.

  7. How can you call Kartik a hypocrite? He DISAGREED with Gaffers opinions. I apoligize if I may have sounded harsh, I had a bit of a ‘rush of blood to the head’ moment in my previous post, but I still stand by my comments. Also, EPLTalk is about more than just the Gaffer. Kartik has a right to continue to comment on other topics, and I fail to see how that go’s against the interest of American soccer. I’m guessing then that you wouldn’t come to a Premiership match if one came to America, because you obviously hate everything English and Premiership.

  8. Thanks Wanderer Abroad. Their are two distinct groups in American Football- the eurosnob and the any everything european/the latino snob. I’m in neither camp so get attacked by both!

  9. I like the idea of playing the Prem both in America and Asia. Schedule 2 weeks during the season one week where 10 games are played in America and another week later in the season in Asia where 10 games are to be played. The way I would set it up is that the team that finishes in 1st and 2nd play one game in America and one game in Asia against each other. Teams that finished 3rd and 4th would play one game in America and one game in Asia against each other. Till you got down to the 17th place team facing the team that won the Coca Cola Champion and the 2 other teams from the Coca Cola League playing each other with a game in Asia/America. Sure it would suck for fans as they will miss out on the teams that finished a spot above them or below them but it would distribute the talent somewhat evenly if you take into account the year befores table.

    I would only do something like this every 2 to 4 seasons in years where there isn’t a World Cup and a European Championship. The Brits have to realize that they have a global sports property that is bigger than the island the league is played on. Bringing competitive games to markets like America and especially Asia where the chance for growth is HUGE for the league and the game itself especially as TV properties.

    Of course this idea will go over like a fart in church with the fans that support the clubs not taking kindly to foreigners taking even more of the game away from them. They will still have at least 18 home league games a year and would it kill them to share 1 home game every couple of seasons with the rest of the world?

  10. Once more the beautiful game I have grown up with has been more and more succumbed to greed.
    If the fixtures are held in January. What will happen to the African Nations Cup.
    2. How can a team play somebody three times
    3. If people from Thailand or other prospective venues want to see it why don’t they go visit the home stadiums in Enfland in the flesh.
    4. The EPL is not the best league in the world probably the so called best marketed league
    5. Why weren’t the fans, players and managers consulted

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