If the opening weekend of Spain’s La Liga season is any indication, La Liga aims to give the Premier League some tough competition this season in the battle for TV ratings.
UPDATE: World Soccer Talk writer Ed Perovic has written a follow-up article to this piece that explains what the schedule for the new La Liga season looks like, where it corrects some of the mistaken points from the article below.
Instead of La Liga’s typical schedule, which includes several games across the weekend that overlap with each other, the opening weekend of the 2016/17 La Liga season scheduled to kick off on Friday, August 19 will feature 9 out of 10 games that will be played in a block one after the other across the entire weekend.
The one exception is a Friday night fixture where the second half of one game overlaps with the first half of another.
With La Liga’s schedule for the opening weekend, the advantages are that TV viewers will be able to watch more games and more teams over the course of a typical weekend instead of having to make choices when games overlap.
Plus, to La Liga’s advantage, fewer games overlap with the Premier League, which is the global heavyweight when it comes to viewing numbers worldwide for soccer.
Looking more closely at the changes that La Liga will roll out for the new season, the schedule for the opening weekend has:
• 2 games on Friday; One starting at 2:45pm ET, the second at 4pm ET
• 3 games on Saturday; First game is at 12:15pm ET, followed by one at 2:15pm ET and the final one of the day at 4:15pm ET
• 3 games on Sunday; With games being scheduled in the same time windows as Saturday, and
• 2 games on Monday; One at 2pm ET, followed by the second and final one of the weekend at 4pm ET.
In comparison, a typical schedule of La Liga games last season had:
• 1 game on Friday at 2:30pm ET,
• 1 on Saturday morning at 10am ET, 1 at 12:15pm ET, 1 at 2:30pm ET and a final one at 4:05pm ET
• 1 on Sunday morning at 6am ET, 1 at 10am ET, and 2 at 2:30pm ET
• 1 on Monday at 2:30pm ET
By making these small changes, La Liga removes the Saturday 10am ET game that competes directly against the Premier League, eliminates the Sunday 6am ET game that isn’t time-friendly for North and South America, as well as ensuring that only a limited number of time windows conflict with the Premier League. These changes help La Liga provide more value to the TV broadcasters, and will hopefully benefit Spanish teams other than Real Madrid and Barcelona who may have felt that their games weren’t timed well to maximize a global viewership.
While La Liga is making positive changes to help boost its TV ratings and global popularity, Germany’s top-flight league is resistant to make changes for fear of upsetting the club supporters. Unfortunately for the Bundesliga, the timeslots the league schedules for almost every single match overlaps with all of the games from a typical Premier League weekend.
Earlier this year, La Liga President Javier Tebas had this to say about the Premier League’s challenge to La Liga:
“We hope to grow so the Premier League does not become the biggest competition in the world and we can be at the same level economically,” said Tebas.
“We do not want the Premier League as a leader one step ahead of the rest.
“If we fail to do this, the Premier League could become the NBA of football and that would not be good not for us, not for the sport.”
By the look of it, based on the opening weekend schedule, La Liga means business this season.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family