Reading The Tea Leaves Of Premier League TV Schedules
Seeing which Premier League games are scheduled on television is often like reading tea leaves. The TV networks guess which matches will generate the most number of viewers and will pick those if they have first dibs. In the case of this Sunday’s Premier League season finale, you can read a lot into the decisions made by Fox and ESPN.
Fox revealed on Tuesday that it would be showing Chelsea against Wigan on Fox Soccer Channel, while Manchester United against Stoke would be shown on Fox Soccer Plus (and FoxSoccer.tv). In doing so, it sent out a loud and clear message that Fox is betting on Chelsea winning the Premier League title so the maximum audience can see the Blues lifting the trophy. If Manchester United somehow wins the Premier League title instead, Fox will have a little bit of egg on its face as the match will only be seen live on Fox Soccer Plus (and FoxSoccer.tv) which have a much smaller audience.
Surprisingly, ESPN announced on Wednesday afternoon — before the Manchester City against Spurs game was over — that it would be televising West Ham United against Man City on Sunday on ESPN2. That told me that they either didn’t think Tottenham Hotspur would beat Manchester City or they thought no one would bother watching Sunday’s match between Burnley and Spurs. I think it was more the latter.
If you were in charge of programming at Fox or ESPN, which games would you have picked to be shown on which channels this Sunday?