Going global, but not to Acapulco…yet? Premier League consider ‘international round’

The inevitable has happened. After the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants successfully (ruined Wembley’s pitch, some would say…) brought the NFL over here, the Premier League have announced that they are considering an ‘international round’ of fixtures. Although why mention ‘consider’ is anyone’s guess. To announce they’re considering it seems like a euphemism. All twenty Premier League clubs have agreed to the proposal.

The Premier League season would be extended to 39 games, could involve extra travelling for already exhausted players, and adds an extra air of gravitas to a league that is now going truly global.

The Premier League are walking a fine tight-rope. Many fans complain that ticket prices are still too high, yet clubs have provisionally agreed to take the game away from them, rather than trying to take it closer to fans. As Mihir Bose, the BBC sports editor so rightfully put it, “it’s chance for the Premier League to showcase its product around the world.”

Don’t forget, though, that the Premier League have actually flirted with this idea for a very long time. The Premier League Asia Cup must now be officially viewed as a yearly experiment to gauge the popularity of the English game abroad. It’s obvious the Premier League were happy with the results.

This move shows the power of the new batch of Premier League owners. American investors like the Glazers, Hicks and Gillette, want to see a return on their investment as soon as possible. By taking their franchises (a term that I think we’ll need to get used to as time progresses…) global, it makes it more likely that this will happen sooner.

But what this also shows is how powerful other nations have become to the future of English top-flight football. By taking the game abroad, the Premier League assures its survival for time to come. It can bank on continued TV deals at mesmurising costs, and will definitely ensure that it gets the best players in the world from Asia, the Middle East and North America — the three big continents where Premier League football is most popular.

I’m sure we’ll have much more to say on the matter in due course.

Imagine if relegation fights or championship battles were eventually decided in a city thousands of miles away, though? It doesn’t bear thinking about.





Filed under Barclays Premier League, BBC, Comment, England, English Premier League, FA, FIFA, Football, NFL, Soccer, Sport

5 responses to “Going global, but not to Acapulco…yet? Premier League consider ‘international round’

  1. God it really is awful isn’t it? I don’t know how many more years I can put up with this rubbish. I started going to matches in 1995, and by then it wasn’t exactly jumpers for goalposts any more, but I do believe football has become even more out of this (real) world since we were young.

  2. Hang on no 1994. My first match was at home to Arsenal on the 12th December at Maine Road. We lost 2-1 and I cried. Then I asked my dad when we could go again.

  3. The text below comes from the Manchester City FC official website report on this story. (http://tinyurl.com/253dwk) What scares me about this is that you would only need to make the slightest of changes to turn this into a report about the global opportunities for, say, a manufacturer of baseball caps. Football clubs are businesses now and I don’t like it.

    Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: “We are proud the Barclays Premier League is viewed as the strongest domestic football competition in the world by fans at home and abroad, and we are committed to maintaining this position.

    “The ‘international round’ is an exciting and innovative proposal that needs careful consideration before being introduced. However, this concept recognises the truly global appeal of the Barclays Premier League whilst understanding that the traditions of the English game have always underpinned our success.

    “We believe that an ‘international round’ of matches will enhance the strength of the Barclays Premier League as a competition; create extra interest in all 20 Premier League Clubs at home and abroad; and allow increased investment in talent development and acquisition, facilities as well as our football development and community programmes.

    “The globalisation of sport is both an opportunity and a challenge; one that needs addressing in a responsible way. We are a better competition for being a cosmopolitan league and have benefited from our increased international reach. Nonetheless, it is critical we retain our English character by improving our efforts to produce home grown talent, deepening our commitment to community engagement and continuing our investment in the grass roots.”

    A City spokesperson said: “This is an excellent idea and merits further consideration. Manchester City has a huge international following and we have recently announced a global alliance with six partner clubs from around the world which reflects the growing international interest in our Club and Premier League football.”

  4. sturobinson

    I’m currently reading a book about Brian Clough, who said he was glad to get away from the game before money and player power took over. But it’s not even player power anymore, it’s the greed of the men in suits who would struggle to name their clubs’ all-time top goal scorer, or year of establishment if asked.

    They care not one bit for the sport that we’ve grown up with.

    Football has always been a working class game, but soon those working class fans will have to stay up through the night to watch as their team plays its next home game in Beijing.

  5. FPB

    excellent posting as usual.

    oh for somebody to run the game in this country who truly understands the essence of what makes it so great rather than so bloody lucrative.

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