Watching the Premier League from Hawaii is like watching the Japanese J-League from New York. The absurd time differences make it a challenge.
However, the Premier League demands that following. With major clubs and the world’s most-recognizable players, the most-popular league in the world extends across the globe.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Hawaii has a strong contingent of Premier League fans. However, watching the Premier League from Hawaii differs massively to watching on the east coast.
Many Premier League fans in New York or Miami complain about watching the 7:30 a.m. ET kickoff on Saturdays. But spare a thought for the hardcore of the hardcore fans who watch games from Hawaii. Premier League games begin on Saturdays at 1:30 AM for residents in the Aloha State.
Then, there are four to five games in the 4 a.m. window. Finally, Premier League fans in Hawaii can watch the sun come up during the last kickoff on Saturday mornings at 6:30.
Yet, this is the toll Hawaiian fans of the Premier League go through to follow their favorite league. World Soccer Talk reached out to fans of the English top flight that call the archipelago home. They talk about watching the Premier League in Hawaii and the pros and cons involved.
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On the east coast, a number of fans do not want to wake up for those 7:30 a.m. kickoffs unless they are wildly intriguing fixtures. For instance, a North London Derby might warrant the alarm clock, while Fulham hosting Southampton would not. Take that struggle, and apply it to the entire weekend schedule. That is the battle fought by Premier League fans in Hawaii.
In fact, David R., a Spurs supporter who has called Hawaii home for 32 years, watches games exclusively on demand. In essence, he does not challenge the dark morning hours. To be fair, I’m sure most fans would do the same.
“We follow a couple of clubs, and watch both their games and any others that are likely to be exciting for neutrals,” David wrote via email. “The ones we watch, we watch on the day of that match at whatever time of day is convenient for us.”
Peacock eventually makes all Premier League games available on demand, allowing this ease of access for David and other fans in Hawaii.
However, not all fans in Hawaii are part of that ‘on-demand only’ group. For example, Rae Camara is a Liverpool supporter and Hawaii resident for nearly 40 years. Rae’s decision to watch games live or on-demand stems from the game itself.
“I will stay up late if the fixture is particularly compelling or it’s a Liverpool match,” Rae wrote via email.
“The vast majority of games I watch are on demand. I try to catch up on some of the less prominent games on Peacock.”
In fact, Rae, who is also a big fan of college football, will wait until the evening to catch up on Premier League games. That trend switches from January until May, when she only time shifts by a few hours when possible. Plus, Rae tries to watch the games in chronological order on demand.
Rae’s fandom of college football could actually be a hinderance. ESPN, which broadcasts most college football games, has a ticker at the bottom featuring news and scores from earlier in the day. Rae says it is very easy to let her eyes drift towards that part of the screen, even when actively trying to avoid it.
It does not have to be ESPN or other broadcasters. David inadvertently sees scores even when he is trying to watch a different game or sift through the Peacock interface.
“Sometimes I see scores by accident. For example, when Peacock puts the scores of other matches on the screen. Or, logorrheic commentators get bored of the game they’re supposed to be discussing and spoil some of the other ones.”
Even here at World Soccer Talk, Hawaiians check the game schedule for the Premier League. There, the latest news section has the postgame recap just minutes after a game concludes. In many ways, even if fans are not on social media, the Hawaiian Premier League experience is under constant threat of timing and scores appearing anywhere.
Despite the time difference and accommodating to the Premier League’s fixture windows, David and Rae believe there are not too many differences than watching on the mainland. In fact, Rae tries to keep in touch with her girlfriend, also a Liverpool supporter, as they watch live fixtures while separated by multiple time zones.
On the other hand, David watches almost exclusively on-demand. It does help to be able to skip halftime and jump right back into the content. Plus, it helps to be in Hawaii to watch soccer, even if it is on-demand.
For instance, David watched an EPL game with a view that probably tops all American audiences, and possibly the world’s audience.
“Diamond Head was in the distance, but the match was pretty absorbing, so it had pretty much 100% of my attention.”
Seems like a fair tradeoff to wait to watch the games, if you get to look at a volcanic cone.
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