Welcome to the new (The Context Of) post. A few days ago, Jurgen Klopp criticized the EPL for not taking a break during the holidays season. The debate around EPL playing in these festive times has always been a topic of discussion, especially by foreign managers.
In this post, we will go by a few points.
- Why does the EPL do that
- How it became about profits
- The Premier League view as cooperation
Why does the EPL do that?
The English didn't start doing that recently. They didn't start doing it for broadcast purposes and subscriptions. In fact, this tradition started in the early 1900s, even before the first world war. English clubs notice that during holidays seasons, christmas, and new year, workers and middle-class wouldn't stay at home. As during their holiday breaks they would go out and see the world more.
They have noticed a large attendance to football matches during that period. Football has always been the game of the people since its inception, so it is only expected for that to happen in the first country where it was regulated. Meanwhile, rich families would only host parties at their homes or mansions. So, rich people were just staying home during that period.
Clubs have concluded that the holidays season is the best time to play matches to guarantee large attendance. So much so that some clubs actually suggested playing every day between Christmas and new year. It was a great source to raise the popularity of the sport and ticket sales.
The idea wasn't fully about money, and it became a tradition for English people and part of the culture. Having football matches played during the holiday season has become part of the holiday season for games to be played. That point was echoed by the BBC in response to Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp's complaint. They also stated that it is not about the money but rather traditions. This leads me to my next point.
How it became about profits
Broadcasting networks learned that the English love attending these games as part of their tradition. Networks like Sky realized that since it is part of the tradition for people to watch these games, it would be a great time for them to broadcast and in turn sell ads at an expensive rate.
There's a guarantee in high profits for networks like Sky from broadcasting these games locally, and internationally all the attention would be focused on the EPL since no other leagues broadcast games, especially in non-christian countries.
The Premier League view as a cooperation
As a cooperation, the Premier League views its league as a product that needs to be marketed. They saw a cultural tradition, a media that supports it, and took the opportunity. The Boxing Day fixtures for example have a feeling similar to games played by the end of the season. There's a great attraction to it.
The timing of the games is also picked to suit viewers from all over the world as well as locally. Since it is a tradition, the cooperation saw it fit to benefit from it. Also, it is the greatest marketing tool to be the only available football outlet in Europe. Personally, I am more of a La Liga and Serie A fan than I am the PL, but Boxing Day attracted me since it was the only time with games when I got to coffee shops with my friends.
EPL fixtures during the holiday season have a cultural tradition rooted in its history, marketable usability, financial benefits for broadcasting networks, and economic growth for cooperations. That, in my opinion, is the reason why it is very hard to see it die.
The EPL's replacement is their winter break which starts in late January to February. All of these factors lead to this tradition continuing.
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