Thursday, February 7, 2008

All Over the World

The first item that I read was the one from Soccerlens:

The English Premier League clubs are considering a proposal to play some matches at overseas venues starting from the 2011/2012 season.

The idea is to extend the regular season to 39 games, with the extra 10 games being played at 5 select venues around the world (US, Middle East and Far East Asia are the obvious 3 destinations, but will we see clubs going to Africa, South East Asia, South America and Australia as well?). The proposal suggests picking actual fixtures by draw, although the star clubs may not always be paired with each other....


It’s for the MONEY! And the direct (and indirect) support (financial) of millions…and millions of Premier League fans around the world (all of whom support Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Arsenal, depending on who was champion when they started watching....

I ended up commenting:

voted no [to Soccerlens' poll on the idea] not because I object to international games, but because I object to adding to the schedule to do it. Leagues that have adopted overseas games, such as the NFL and NHL, have done so without adding games to the season. And Manchester United’s ability to head off to the Middle East shows that games could be accommodated. Perhaps there could even be an international week where all ten games are played outside of England, in different corners of the world. If teams are worried about losing home field advantage, then play two games internationally, so that each team has 18 home games, 18 away games, and 18 far away games.

As I think about it more, I’m warming to this “international week” idea. Because of the different time zones, games would be spread out throughout the day(s), so even the domestic fans would benefit because they’d be able to watch more games on TV that weekend. (Imagine a weekend in which you could watch 10 EPL games in a row. Footy overload!)

(I subsequently commented about Antonio Villraigosa and Rita Moreno of Arte, but that is neither here nor there.)

Unfortunately, the league was not monitoring the 'Nets to read my brilliant idea. They ended up agreeing to explore the 39 game idea:

at a meeting in London on Thursday, all 20 Premier League clubs agreed to explore a proposal to extend the season to 39 games. Those 10 extra games would be played at venues around the world, with cities bidding for the right to stage them. It is understood the additional fixtures could be determined by a draw but that the top-five teams could be seeded to avoid playing each other.

Under the proposal, cities such as Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney, Johannesburg, Dubai and Beijing would stage matches between two Premier League sides. The League have called a news conference for this afternoon where it is expected they will confirm they are to explore the proposal of playing games in some of the world’s largest cities.

Too bad. I'd still like to see a block of 20+ hours of football, played all over the world in a single day.


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