If you want an idea of what a somewhat typical Saturday looks like for a soccer fan who lives in the United States and who follows European soccer, take a peek at the above image and click on it for a larger and easier-to-read view.
The awe-inspiring chart shows all of the live European soccer games available to U.S. residents via television and the Internet. There are probably more European matches available via niche satellite channels and illegal Internet streams, but these are all of the easily accessible options via cable and satellite along with Internet subscriptions. The games were played on Saturday, October 29, 2011.
What’s incredible to me when you look at the above chart is:
- You have 10 hours of continuous live European soccer coverage available to you,
- There are seven leagues to choose from (the color coding is pink = Premier League, blue = Bundesliga, green = Serie A, yellow = La Liga, grey = Championship, purple = Eredivisie, and orange = Ligue Un), and
- There are 24 games shown (representing 36 hours of actual game time, or 48 hours of soccer coverage — in just one day).
And these are just the live games. There are a few European games shown on delay later. And the above chart doesn’t include all of the games from other continents that are shown later in the day.
For many of you die-hard readers, the above facts won’t come as a surprise. But seeing a typical Saturday (other than the extra early Premier League match) displayed visually made me step back and think about things about a little more than usual.
It’s no wonder that sports fans who watch European soccer are fatigued by the time the domestic leagues are shown on television (or in person) later in the afternoon or evening.
It also makes me appreciate more the wealth of soccer viewing choices we have available.
While I watched four of the above games live on this particular day (and watched highlights from three others), there’s only so much soccer I can watch before my family starts giving me strange looks. It’s always good to get some fresh air and take a break from soccer, but it sure is tempting to watch as much as you can.
Reviewing the above chart also gives me a better appreciation of why there is such friction and disagreements between fans of the Premier League versus La Liga versus Serie A (and other leagues). The reality is that no one soccer fan can consume all leagues so it’s only natural for fans to gravitate to one over another. And the more you watch one league, the more you appreciate it and the less informed you may be about other leagues because you can’t watch (or be an expert on) everything.