TV runs everything. At least in sports. And particularly in the Premier League, where from next season, even the 17th placed team will be getting £101 million a year in TV rights alone, does TV run everything. You may be asking yourself what the TV companies get for that kind of money - do they get all the free tickets they want? Free VIP parking on matchdays? An extra few replica shirts for the kids of network execs at Christmas?
Well, yes, but the other thing they get is power over scheduling. We've seen it a bunch this year with the FA changing dates of FA Cup games to times that, to be charitable, are a disaster for traveling fans - a disaster to which the response from the TV companies is basically "well, we hear what you're saying, but shut up because we pay for this and we can do what we want". I mean, they're not wrong, on a couple levels - 6.6 million people watching definitely outweighs 5,000 traveling fans - but it's also a supremely douchey move to switch a game to a time that means people who want to attend the game can't because of travel limitations.
With that in mind, Arsenal announced today that fixture times have been changed for four upcoming matches. Most of them are just a two hour time slot switch, which isn't a huge deal, but the Leicester City game that was originally scheduled for Saturday, Feb 13 will now be played on Sunday, Feb 14.
None of the switches will cause the travel angst that the changed FA Cup fixtures do, and in most cases almost no one will notice the difference. But it's just another reminder that TV and its trough of money rule everything in the game now, a thing that we all forget at our peril.