How Much Attention Do You Give Premier League Games?


If you’re like me, you probably find that it’s getting harder and harder to watch Premier League games without being interrupted. And the interruptions are sometimes my own fault whether it’s my laptop and my inclination to open as many tabs as possible on my Chrome browser. Or my addiction to Twitter, or the ability to watch more than one Premier League game at a time. The list goes on and on.

It’s not just football supporters like you and me who have trouble concentrating on our beautiful game. Having watched hundreds of Premier League games, it’s not uncommon to see football supporters in the stadiums getting distracted by all sorts of things such as their mobile phones, streakers, hurling abuse at away supporters, or talking with their mates alongside them.

Something I enjoy quite a bit but I don’t get a chance to do that often is to go to a local pub and watch a game with friends. With four kids, it’s often hard to get out of the house. But even when I visit a pub and watch a match with a friend, there are distractions there too. The blonde barmaid, the annoying patrons or sometimes my mate who chats at inopportune moments when you’re trying to study the match.

This brings me to the main point of this article which is a question to you and me: How much attention do you give Premier League games? If you’re honest, like I am, it’s not as much as I used to. For example, when I’m watching Premier League matches, it’s rare that 100% of my attention is focused only on that game. It depends, but I’m often a casual observer doing a couple of other things at the same time while watching the match “out of the corner of my eye.” I may be surfing the Internet and writing an article such as this one with the game on. Or, I may be playing with my kids while the game is on in the background.

For me, the bigger the game the more likely it is that my complete attention is focused on the whole 90 minutes. If it’s an FA Cup Final, Champions League final, World Cup match or the final day of the Premier League season, it’s extremely likely that 100% of my attention is focused on studying that game. The same applies when it’s my favorite team that’s on television. Or if it’s a game that really matters to me.

What about you? How focused are you on the Premier League games that are on television? And what makes you more or less likely to focus your complete attention on a game? Share your experiences by clicking the comments link below. I look forward to reading your stories.

24 thoughts on “How Much Attention Do You Give Premier League Games?”

  1. I stay off the internet because I’m afraid of seeing the results of delayed matches. I don’t like to watch in public places as one can never tell if the loo will be up to standard. The lads and I watch together so that’s not a problem either. The only distraction I face is when two matches are on at once. But that’s not too bad. Every now and then the wife whinges about the amount of football consumed and I’ll cut it back and throw in an episode of “As Time Goes By” to ease he anger.

  2. Depends on the game. I used to Burnley-Portsmouth game to set up new speakers and a TV stand while watching the game, then got into the next few games when they started on Saturday morning. I’ve also just purchased a third TV so I have every game covered on Saturday morning or Champions League weekday fixtures.

    After the first time I went out to dinner while recording a game and saw the results on ESPN’s scroll I decided to never go out to eat again while there is a game playing.

    By the way, it’s fun to tell people I start drinking at around 8am on a Saturday morning to watch the games. They look at me as if I’m an alcoholic, but they just don’t understand :)

    Also, I should mention we rarely go out on Friday night just so we can get up early and be ready for game day. Even my wife has followed suit, though she is a Chelsea fan, so she doesn’t count for anything.

    1. Same here regarding ESPN. I’ve been out to restaurants and just happen to glance at the ESPN ticker only to find out what the scores were for games earlier that day that I hadn’t watched. Argh!

      The Gaffer

  3. I give 100% attention when the Manchester United play, or if the games result can help or hurt United’s standing in the league. When watching other EPL fixtures I usually don’t miss much of importance if I am distracted thanks to the quality announcers of the English game, as their voices crescendo as goal chances and major incidents arise. I love the EPL and whatever the match up I am watching.

  4. When I’m watching, I try to focus exclusively on the match. I don’t go to pubs very often, but will go this afternoon to watch ManU beat Wolves, which will help my Pompey. Football is not a sport where you can divert your attention for very long and really know what is going on. Baseball and American Rules Football are designed for the easily distracted. I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding the internet for scores of recorded games, although that is more difficult now with my new iPhone and the related apps.

    When my wife complains I’m watching too much football, I switch it to HGTV. She loves all of the home redesign shows and shows about moving to exotic locales. I’m not sure if she’s trying to tell me something…

    1. I feel your pain regarding the iPhone and related apps. It’s so much easier to follow scores, but I try to not follow it by phone so I can enjoy watching the match on TV later.

      The Gaffer

  5. For Arsenal games 100% attention, my fiance has to slap me to actually pay attention to anything besides the game.

    For any other games I have the time to watch (when it doesn’t directly affect Arsenal) I think its about 30-40% of the game I actually pay attention to or if the game is recorded, the 5 minute game summary (fast forward, unless there is a goal then watch the build up and said goal).

  6. I partake in EPL worship with a group of guys who typically get together on Monday or Tuesday nights to watch EPL and Champions League match replays and the EPL Review Show as a means of fellowship and laughs (our wives/partners are rather gracious in this regard). Oftentimes we’ve already seen our individual favorites play on Saturday or Sunday which means our attention is less intent on the screen as if it were live, but this also allows for a enjoyable increase in the quality, volume, and pace of our banter (although some show extremely commendable patience by waiting to discover results until we watch it together and it is forbidden to not spoil the outcomes of those matches).

    One of my favorite things about watching futbol on TV is that it allows for COMMERCIAL-FREE mingling and comradeship during the action. For this I am thankful and is what we enjoy most about this sport on TV. Much as The Gaffer enjoys watching with friends in the pub, we meet in a well-stocked, yet rustic, garage attic replete with all manner of cast-off furniture, futbol memorabilia as decor, drinks station, wood stove/air conditioning, and rough sanitary drain-only plumbing. Everyone should be so lucky. Although the members of our group all display various levels of care for how their favorite team fares, the results are by and large sundry to the act of commiseration itself and I would have no other way.

    PS We’ve recently begun planning our viewing strategies for the World Cup!

  7. One of the fun parts of this sport is trying to encourage friends and family to get into the games and league through various methods. For example, the other day my father came over during the late stages of the Arsenal-Liverpool game. He’s always thought of the sport as boring, but only because he hasn’t seen it played at the highest level. So I rewind to key parts of the game so he could see the buildup to Kuyt’s goal, Johnson’s own goal, and then the brilliant shot by Arshavin. I went to the last few minutes with the surround sound on high and he was definitely getting into the game to see how it ended.

    Did the same thing last year when I hosted a party when Burnley earned their promotion to the top flight with their playoff win. As everyone was near the TV, I showed Burnley’s goal and the last few minutes of the game, and nearly everyone there was amazed at the intensity of play and the crowd at Wembley.

    There’s a list of many other things I think we do to get into the great sport. I look forward to more posts from fellow readers.

  8. I’ll generally pay close attention to the whole game if Liverpool is playing and it’s live. If it’s recorded, and I’m short on time, I’ll fast forward until I see a goal and then back up and watch the build up to the goal. Like Sparks said, you can always generally be doing something else while the game is on in the background and not miss the important parts since the announcer’s voices will crescendo during exciting plays.

  9. I am a Manchester United fan. When United is playing, 100% of my attention is on the game. No one else in my family likes football, so when the game is on, they know not to bother me. If they need something, they will have to wait until the game is over. On Saturdays or Sundays, I will watch football all day. Prem, La Liga/Bundesliga, Prem, Prem… I usually do not like to watch an early match on ESPN( unless United is playing , or it is decent matchup), due to the score ticker. I have e-mailed ESPN to complain about that issue, and they respectfully answer that the reason for that, was that so many more people complain about it not being on, than those that do complain about the score ticker being there. They also replied that the ones that complain about the score ticker being there seem to be more passionate about the game. My reason for complaining is that sometimes there is a good match on the telly later on in the day, and would not like to know the score. For example: I like watching Spurs if they are coming on later that day. For that same reason, I stay away from the internet until after I am done watching football for the day.

  10. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer listening to sports on the radio. I guess it’s just the baseball fan in me listening to Vin Scully and those nights as a child I got to hear Chick Hearn call Laker games on the radio. So for me, I don’t usually pay too close attention to the screen but I’m always listening. A game called by Jon Champion or Martin Tyler is like music.

    If it’s a big enough game I’ll watch through the whole thing without any interruptions. For a normal game, I’m usually on the computer reading articles online, getting work done, playing FIFA on another screen, etc.

    There is one big exception to the normal game rule and that’s the ESPN2 game. I work at nights and get off work at 2am. Living in Los Angeles, during Daylight Saving Time that game was at 4:45am. I’d either take a quick nap or just stay up ’til the game started. For those games, I definitely made an effort to watch the whole game. Sitting in my dark living room in front of a 60 inch HDTV as the sun comes up is a special thing that only me and the Premier League will ever have.

  11. Finding time to watch full games is not easy for me with my pesonal and professional life. Especially since I am a hockey and soccer fan. I dont even have cable TV now (a big money saver). But thank goodness video technology has advanced on the internet. I found a way to watch FSC online and then there is footytube, a soccer only video site. They have EPL highlights of all the games the night after the game is played. I am very content with that for now! I am still considering giving a shot though for a month at least to see what it is like.

  12. How about today with weekday fixtures? I snuck out of work thirty minutes early via the side door, made an excuse to get out of a meeting, got home in time to setup the system to show the Villa-Sunderland game on the 65 inch while the ManU-Wolves played on the 32 inch. Beer never tasted so good knowing I would still be in that meeting while I watched the kickoff to the Villa game. And a 2-0 win as well. Sweet night ahead of me!

  13. Gaffer, you raise good points regarding all the modern distractions we have to deal with. To me, the fact that football requires complete and undivided attention makes the game uniquely appealing. It’s a two-hour (four hours if it’s a semi-final at the Home Depot Center) respite from such distractions.

  14. The time of the game is important. The early game on ESPN on Saturday is easy to focus on. The sun still isn’t up here yet at that time in Chicago and without the children that Chris has to deal with it’s me and the match.

    Once the day starts it’s hard to sit still or stay off the internet or the iphone or even stay in the house. So, often I’m off at the start of the 3:00pm start and follow the games on Talksport on my iphone played in my car. Lots of fun to be driving down an American highway and hearing who just scored in the Wolves game. Today, Tuesday, I had to drive to a meeting during the midweek matches. How great it was a joy to listen to the famous Talksport wrap around coverage while driving. On Saturdays I do make an effort to get back to my home to see most of the late game and do get through most of it, as long as it’s a good game. When I hear the score the 3:00pm game that I put on my dvr then I’ll decide if it merits my attention.

    So, a mixed result by me, technology takes us farther away as it moves also gives even more access.

  15. I’ll you what gents (and footy ladies of course), it is a slippery slope if you get into it, but for this season, the one thing that has caused a huge upturn in my viewing and appreciation of the EPL is fantasy football. I’m astonished at how much fun it is. I play the main game on the mothership site, and it’s an absolute blast.

    As others have mentioned above, I will take steps to get to bed early on Friday night instead of going out and partying up, but it’s so worth it. My weekly Friday evening ritual now revolves around scouring the 3 or 4 football sites I use regularly searching for any and all bits of knowledge that will help guide my transfer for the week (you always want to make transfers as late as possible for injuries, indications of who will and will not start, good and bad match-ups, etc.). Then I set my team’s line-up and get to bed. Then wake up for the early ESPN game, and get to watching some football with a fresh pot of coffee. There really is something about curling up with some joe in my pajamas at 6 AM (mountain time), and watching the first minute of the gameweek unfold live.

    The fantasy thing really helps engender interest in multiple teams, but of course this can cause some emotional conflict. Usually my support of my actual club (Go Arsenal!) will have precidence over my fantasy team, and it’s nice when they compliment each other. But you find that you learn to have an affinity for multiple clubs and players, as you are rooting for a group of teams. You learn to appreciate the wider view of the EPL, with all its unique players, club identities, and certainly foibles. The drama of it isn’t possible anywhere else in sport, and this is unmistakably true whether my fantasy team does well or not.

    1. I know that a lot of people got into soccer and the Premier League from playing video games such as FIFA, but it’s good to hear that people are getting into the league because of Fantasy Premier League.

      I read your comment with interest about watching the Premier League with coffee for breakfast. When I visited the UK a few years ago to watch a match in the Autumn, it seemed weird waiting until 3pm local time for a match to kickoff. The whole day just dragged by. And then when it was over by 5pm, the night was pitch dark.

      The Gaffer

      1. How true – it would be strange after being an observer of the EPL here in the states. It’s a uniquely AM experience for us, and since I plan on seeing the game up close and personal someday, in both England and Europe in general, it will probably be the same for me. I would go so far to say I would miss the weekend morning ritual greatly.

        And the fantasy game came along after I had cultivated a genuine appreciation for world football. But make no mistake, it was FIFA that was directly responsible for getting me in. FIFA 2006 no less, on my best friend’s used Nintendo Gamecube (no kidding). We are currently in the middle of various campaigns to this day, me in my 2nd season piloting the Gunners, after having piloted Derby County to the PL title and Champions League glory in my 4 seasons there. My friend has just retired from Manchester United (of course) after 7 seasons, having seen Giggs, Scholes, etc. retire. He has gone on to join me in league 1 with Cheltenham Town, and now we are both marching on toward the Premier League!

        You gotta love this game…

  16. Prem games kick off v late or in the wee hours here so if I find myself getting distracted by the internet (but sadly no longer by late night pervy TV Tokyo channel 12) or straining to stay awake (thank you LFC) I just record and watch as live over brek like our American cousins seem to enjoy doing.

    Very few live matches get my 100% attention, that would have been unthinkable in the past!

  17. Great little article, I am so there…If I had a dollar for every time I watched a game while doing my vocabulary cards for Greek or Hebrew I’d be a rich man…I definitely find football to be a good background show/event to watch while doing other things, if Villa or Roma are playing I’m pretty zoned in, and if it’s a champions league final I’m totally focused. Otherwise if I’m watching a Portsmouth-West Hamish match I’m definitely doing other things.

  18. The problem (or good situation) is that we have so many matches shown here in the US. When I used to live in the UK we’d get maybe a few games per weekend. Now with ESPN, 2 fox channels, Gol TV and the regional stuff it’s kind of overwhelming. Of couse your gonna get bored. Thank God (or Mr Sony for the DVR) For us Brits, remember Match of The Day with Barry Davis? and John Motson. one hour you waited all week for and Liverpool we’re great back then. Rafa Out!!!

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