English football is in a strange state of limbo as it stands. While the entire country is locked down, the show must go on in the Premier League, and while that’s great for fans looking for a release, it could be changing the way we view and consume the game forever.
Over the last few months, while fans are unable to stand on the terraces, there have been lots of initiatives, ideas and plans submitted and rumoured, with fans unable to have their voice in quite the same way as they would usually.
But what could this mean for football in England, and is it actually worse for the beautiful game, or could it make it better for all involved?
We take a look at some of the key talking points, and how they could change before we’re even allowed back into stadiums…
Live Streaming Football
How we are consuming football has been changing significantly over the last few years. There are more games shown live on TV than ever before, and our smartphones are now allowing us to even watch and bet on games at the same time. It’s completely transformed how we enjoy football, taking it to new heights. In just a few clicks on your phone, you can look up English Premier League betting tips on 101 Great Goals, or many other sites, place your bets and then live stream the game. It’s a far cry from reading the newspaper, walking to the bookies, and then heading on to the match.
And while this has made football and the traditions that come with it much more accessible to the everyday fan, we are now at a crossroads when the Premier League itself is trying to exploit that.
The recent initiative which saw the Premier League charge £14.95 to watch a game was met with widespread anger from fans, to the point now where it may be scrapped, and could completely change the game for a number of reasons.
It was a big step for the league, and perhaps one they had always wanted but couldn’t due to the laws surrounding 3pm kick-offs being broadcasted. It was their way to change the game forever and broadcast every game live, and charge every fan a substantial amount in the process.
However, it didn’t quite go to plan. Fans boycotted watching their own team and rather paid their £14.95 towards worthy causes, in what was a huge statement towards the Premier League and actually showcased what football is all about. It isn’t about money and greed as many bigwigs at the top seem to thing it is, but rather community and spirit, and that hasn’t been forgotten despite fans not being able to show it on the terraces.
A Boost For Lower Leagues
Prior to the second lockdown, non-league gates had increased significantly as fans who can’t get to games in the Premier League down to National League North and South started to pass through the turnstiles at their local clubs.
It’s proven vital income for clubs who live hand to mouth and the government have even said they are keen to get these sides playing in front of crowds as soon as possible once again. What it is hoped is that we see a shift of people now starting to watch their local sides either instead of staying in front of the television or during weekends when fans can’t go to their teams game.
For example, if Manchester United were away, season ticket holders may now be more tempted to watch West Didsbury & Chorlton, Stalybridge Celtic or Hyde United rather than miss out on live football altogether. It could reinvigorate non-league, something which is needed as more and more clubs continue to struggle financially.