I think that Friday fixtures are detrimental to attendances with people coming from work, school, college etc its hard for families to get there and very hard for fans to get to long distance away games. Further to my previous blog on creating an 18 team Premier Division I would much prefer to see 8 of the 9 fixtures take place at a new 7pm kick-off time on Saturday evening, this would be late enough that anybody who plays Saturday football, works on a Saturday or even wants to watch football on TV earlier in the day can do so and still manage to get to their local LoI ground in time for kick-off. It would be much easier to get to away games and would be much better for groups travelling together to meet up and enjoy pre-match drinks etc. People would still be home in time to go out on a Saturday night if they wish and kids wouldn’t be out too late either!
The perfect build up to this would be the other remaining game to take place at 8pm live on TV on a Friday night. A decent TV deal that demands one game every Friday with decent pre-match and post match coverage would be prefect viewing for all LoI fans and a chance to convert others who then might be convinced to go to any of the other 8 games on the following night. At present the random nature of the TV coverage means its not ingrained into the mind of the public that Friday night is “live game night” and Saturday night is “go to a match night”. This would surely boost attendances I can guarantee you that.
Monday night MNS could still remain as the perfect way to end the weekend with all the highlights from the weekends action but this programme needs to be improved also with more match highlights and less talking!
There is a reason that no other top flight division in Europe plays on a Friday night because it is a terrible night for fixtures and attendances but could as I said be a good night for a single game live on TV.
Furthermore no other league in Europe plays games at the same time as a live game is on TV, this is just bizarre. Take England for example, no live football is allowed at 3pm on a Saturday because if a live game was on then a lot of fans wouldn’t be bothered going to games in League 1, League 2 or the conference etc. Fans are encouraged to go to games at their local club and then watch the big game of the weekend live on tv on a Sunday or even before or after the teams games on a Saturday. So by us having for example Rovers v Sligo live on TV at the same time as other league games you are basically hitting the same target markets twice and that’s why TV viewing numbers are so low and that has knock-on effect when looking for TV money because TV companies say: “well look when we put on a game not enough people watch it so we aren’t bothered putting on anymore matches”. Its a very simple concept and I can’t understand why the FAI, League of Ireland department and the League of Ireland clubs can’t see this.
I would love all clubs to read this and take it on board then try this for one season. If I’m wrong fine but I think you will find that attendances will go up, TV viewing figures will go up and the league will be a better place for this.
Keep on Hooping!