La Liga has just announced a deal to play some league fixtures in the US. A deal with Relevent means that fans from the states could soon see the likes of Messi and Bale in competitive matches.
There has been a long running debate in the Premier League about the possibility of playing fixtures overseas. Is the time now right to make the leap?
The major argument against comes from match attending fans of Premier League clubs. They already feel taken advantage of. Prices of match day tickets have gone through the roof since the Premier League came into being.
Would fans see it as another cost or possibly an exciting chance to see their team in a new environment? Fan groups seem set against the fixture change, so any clubs voting for it could see a backlash.
The advantage of playing at home in the Premier League cannot be overstated. Whatever the reasons, it can be a huge advantage for some clubs. 3 points can be the difference between relegation and staying up or sometimes even a title. Would teams want to give up home advantage for a match?
Take Arsenal’s record last season. 15 wins at home in the league, only 4 away. Or for a club like Brighton it could have much greater implications. 7 wins at home, with only 2 coming away, shows how important their home form will be to their survival chances. Would either of these clubs potentially give up a home game?
However, fans must accept that the Premier League is now a global product. Some data suggests that Manchester United alone have over 500 million fans Worldwide.
While they may not come from the same area as the club they follow, there is no doubt they can be as passionate. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see their heroes in the flesh in a competitive game.
When we get right down to it, this is what it is all about. Games overseas could mean an increase in the global audience for the Premier League. A greater global audience means larger TV deals. The last bidding round for Premier League TV rights included packages to attract the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Facebook.
Perhaps these companies are waiting to see if ‘soccer’ can make further inroads into the American market. Will clubs feel the only way to achieve this is though competitive games on those shores?
Fans have been taken advantage of and they may feel that an overseas game is a step too far. However, like it or not, in the modern World of the Premier League money talks. There is a feeling that it is ‘when’ and not ‘if’ there is an overseas fixture as the Premier League searches out new ways to make even more money.