Ever since Sky invented soccer in 1992/93, the game has morphed a lot, particularly in its presentation. The first Arsenal game I went to once the PL started featured such things as:
- exactly zero pre-game ceremonies except a PA announcement of the lineups
- A brass band playing in the center circle at half time
- no announcement of extra time in either half
- no post-game shirt swapping or player lingering on the pitch chatting with his opposition
I leave it to you to decide whether the changes in the intervening years from that sparse, spare presentation are good or bad. I personally think some of both - I believe there’s far too much pomp and circumstance before a “normal” league game - but overall, as we know, change is gonna happen whether we like it or not and for the most part I can roll with it.
One of the more frustrating changes made since the TV trucks backed up their dumpsters full of money to the league, though, is to the fungibility of kickoff times. There used to be none - games started on Saturdays at 3, or sometimes at 7.30. Now, though, in response to both the increased availability of broadcast tools and the desire to reach as many eyeballs as possible, games start basically any time TV wants them to.
Most of the time, this is not the worst thing in the world, particularly in a world containing DVR’s and other time-shifting technology. But when your favorite team’s opening game, against Leicester City, is scheduled for Friday at 11.45AM local time, it’s really frustrating. It would be nice to have the opening weekend’s games be, you know, on the weekend, but here we are.
Friday night games were first introduced last season, and they were far from the big hit TV had hoped - English TV companies had rights to 10 Friday games, but only showed half that number, as they seemingly realized that people probably wouldn’t watch TV on a Friday night when they could be in a pub, hanging with their friends, or whatever.
Arsenal’s 2017/18 Premier League season opener is just over a month away, but you’ll probably be at work when it’s happening. Football!