The Premier League is an English football competition. That much cannot be disputed. And yet, there is growing interest amongst foreign audiences in our tournament. In countries where football is an important part of the culture, like Brazil, India, etc. it’s not uncommon to see kids playing in the streets in a Liverpool or Man Utd jersey.
And so, it makes sense that Premier League officials are looking at those audiences and seeing money signs in their eyes. It’s an idea that’s been on the table for a while but shelved in recent years. We break down here what the plan is and why it hasn’t yet taken off.
What’s the big idea?
Once upon a time, Premier League officials had a dream. A dream to bring real players to real stadiums around the world to play in front of real cheering fans around the world and take in real money from real ticket sales while they were at it.
This is why fans search for Chelsea tickets at SeatPick. They are able to see the world’s best players on in their local postcode.
Watching football on the TV is one thing, but there isn’t much that can match the smell of the grass, the fever in the stands, the ecstasy when a player scores – and it’s all at its peak when you’re seeing it in person.
Premier League officials have become very aware of this lately, noting that the revenue from overseas TV deals is about to eclipse domestic revenues. Even though the teams aren’t representing their city, or even country, foreign fans love watching the Premier League play out. They’ve chosen their loyalties and they’re willing to pay to see them.
They can’t afford a flight for a game, at least not more than once, so Premier League officials want to bring the teams to them, by organising Premier League games to be held in stadiums around the world, namely in China, India, Brazil and Indonesia.
Why hasn’t it started yet?
It’s a complicated schedule to organise the games around. While teams are used to travelling miles to compete in various competitions across Europe, travelling to other continents requires a different commitment. Yes, it takes longer to get to India, China, and the U.S., simply, but that can fundamentally disrupt a gameweek for these clubs, meaning they would struggle to get back and recover for a game the following weekend. Especially as the team travelling will, in the early days, likely be one of the bigger ones, they will likely be firm on their position that it has to make sense for them, within their schedule, as they compete across multiple competitions.
It happens in the NBA. It happens in the NFL. It probably won’t be long until the Premier League begin, though.
Will it happen in the future?
It’s possible the idea might come back on the table in the future, but there might need to be a resting period, where the officials of the industry regain some lost revenue before they go jet setting players around the world for a game that can be streamed from home.