Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another article about 'boring' EPL soccer

An analysis of early-season attendances indicates that fewer people are coming out to watch Premiership games.

"Nine of the 17 top-flight sides that were in the division last year have suffered falling numbers through the turnstiles, with only the European champions Liverpool and Everton, back in Europe for the first time in a decade, recording significant increases."

And the main reason for all this? The games are 'boring.'

"A report released in July investigating the competitiveness of the Premier League warned that the dominance of the Champions League clubs would make the game predictable, having a detrimental effect on incomes. For the past three seasons four of the Premiership's top five finishers have been Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool; in the previous two seasons Chelsea finished sixth. This is not how it used to be."

With the same teams always winning, why would someone pay $50-$80 or more a ticket to watch? If you know the outcome before hand, why bother. This feeling is only amplified when 'lesser' clubs don't place their best team on the field for the big games. They figure they are going to lose, so why not rest you best for the next match.

One interesting note that this article points to is the decline of 'blue collar' supporters at matches.

"It's hard for it to be the working man's game when you look at what it costs to go to Chelsea, for instance," said Mick McGuire, deputy chief executive at the PFA. "We can't alienate the spectator because that's what drives our success."

If they lose the locals, will they be able to continue on? It will be interesting to see. Will TV and merchandising deals be enough to carry a team even if they are playing in a half-empty stadium? We might get to find out the answers to these questions soon.

The game in England is at an interesting point. It is considered to be one of the best leagues (if not the best) in the world, but it is loosing fans. Without some way of balancing teams out a bit, I think the EPL will continue to see numbers and interest decline. Few people (outside of die-hards) like watching a team win again and again unless it is the Harlem Globetrotters. And people only put up with that because it is fun to watch.


Blogger incendiarymind said...

What I think a few people who are analyzing the boring nature of the English game are missing is how competitive the middle to bottom of the league is this year. Last year in December you had three teams that had only won four games or. This year, the only team that hasn't won yet is Sunderland. Two of the teams that have only won once are Newcastle and Everton.

Me, I just ignore Chelsea unless they do something silly.

And there's a lot more to play for than first in the EPL. Regardless of the fact that Chelsea will be first, there are four (or five if Chelsea wins the Carling Cup) spots of equal importance as far as making Europe and those spots are all still in question.

8:37 AM  

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