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Taking the game overseas won’t save your league. A better title run could be better.

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Most television executives would admit that there’s an irony at the heart of the sports entertainment industry, but few will admit it publicly. The parts of the game—or the broadcast, the content, or the product—that they care about most are the ones that the smallest percentage of viewers will watch.

Broadcasting football matches is expensive. It started when television networks poured billions of dollars into buying the rights to broadcast games, and then it went from there. Every domestic match broadcast is a six-figure commitment. Once hotels are booked, equipment is transported and flights are booked, that number can at least double for games held on foreign soil.

There is, of course, a talent that is still called – albeit not always quite accurately – a talent. Networks pay huge salaries to be able to grace their coverage by having their most familiar faces, most famous names, and most high-profile figures sit awkwardly around a low table.

This is of course a travesty. A lot of time, thought and money goes into these parts: the frenetic build-up, the fat-chewing at halftime, the deboning after the game. Generally speaking, however, most fans won’t see a situation where many turn on their TVs before kick-off, use halftime to make or handle drinks, and then turn them off minutes after the final whistle.

This investment can be explained by the fact that these are the elements of broadcasting that are most similar to television. They could assemble the best cast possible. They can have the best materials. They can stand on the most exquisite stage. They are parts that reflect the work of the maker. The game itself is beyond their control. Maybe it will be fascinating. Maybe it’s mind-numbing. But what about the studio? The studio is network controlled.

This week, FIFA sent its clearest signal yet that leagues will soon be allowed to Organizing competitions abroad first. The game’s governing bodies are pulling out all the stops.Well, both of them: it has drawn up a list and is appointing one working team Let’s study this problem.

The message is clear, though. More than a decade later, the Premier League has proposed increasing the so-called ” Game 39 According to the schedule, the train is about to leave the station. In the case of Spain, La Liga hopes to play competitive matches in the United States as early as next year, although U.S. executives believe 2027 may be more realistic.

For La Liga, the reason is the need to attract more fans, although everyone else uses the same argument. Maximize revenue. Explore bold and exciting new ideas, enter different markets, and improve products to not only remain competitive, but popular.

If this sounds familiar, it should.Football executives use the same metaphor whenever they discuss one of their harebrained plans, whether it’s to make a broadcast feel more like a video game, to suggest that young people can’t focus for an hour and a half, or to build a Continental Super League.

It seems a bit strange that elite football has always been so insecure. After all, it is already the most popular leisure activity in the world. However, as far as Europe’s major leagues are concerned, the threat is now clear.

The Premier League’s shadow now hangs over France, Germany, Spain and Italy, not to mention Portugal, the Netherlands and Turkey. There is an acute awareness that survival—or at least survival outside of secondary, feeder competition—depends on finding ways to fight back.

Still, the reasons why European football executives have chosen to take a stand are instructive. This is where the competition is held. It’s the structure of the league they play in. This is the status of clubs that are allowed to compete with them. As is the case with TV executives, their focus remains on what they can control.

This weekend will not only kick off the Premier League season, but also domestic competitions in France and Germany. The match between Italy and Spain ends next week. But the reality is that everywhere but England the game has been over for a while.

Real Madrid have maintained an undisputed lead in La Liga for months. Paris Saint-Germain seem to struggle with a late equalizer against Nantes almost every weekend, but they have comfortably clinched another French Ligue 1 title.Inter regained the Italian title in April, around the same time Bayer Leverkusen Won the Bundesliga title.

None of these leagues offer a particularly compelling title race. The same goes for the Netherlands, with PSV not losing a game until the end of March. Portugal, Belgium and Turkey at least do have some real competition coming together, but it’s limited.

In Portugal, Sporting Lisbon has almost twice as many points as the sixth-placed team. United Saint-Gillois are nearly 20 points ahead of the third-placed team ahead of the Belgian play-offs. In Türkiye, leaders Galatasaray are 40 points ahead of Trabzonspor and are a long way from bronze. (Thanks to Greece, which is enjoying a rare four way championship.)

Even in the Premier League – whose chief executive Richard Masters took some time this week to praise the “danger” coursing through his rivals’ veins – as the final day approaches , an extremely familiar atmosphere suddenly appeared at the top of the standings. Manchester City top the table for the fourth consecutive season. Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United all make the top eight.

This is not to say that the entire European season is nothing more than a parade. Leverkusen are on the cusp of arguably the greatest season ever for any team: Xabi Alonso needs just three more wins to complete Germany’s unbroken run of a first title, DFB-Pokal and Europa League Defeated the Triple Crown.

Girona qualified for the La Liga Champions League for the first time. The same goes for Aston Villa, who are now in the Premier League’s top four for the first time since 1996. Arsenal and, to a lesser extent, Liverpool both deserve credit for keeping pace with City. .

Still, it’s hard not to wonder if every game was just a little more competitive, just a little more dramatic, just a little more meaningful.

Masters may just be pushing that when he insists in front of British lawmakers this week that the Premier League is a bastion of competitive balance. But his overall point is correct: What turns fans away is not how long the games last, or even where they are played, but how little danger the games take, how little prospect of drama there is.

The problem, of course, is that solving this problem is nuanced, nuanced and complex. Therefore, whether in an executive office or a network office, the focus is on the more controllable parts of the game.


It’s hard to say exactly when it will happen on Sunday, but you can be absolutely sure it will. There will be a slight roar from somewhere in London’s Emirates Stadium. It will slowly pass around the ground, and fans in the distance will crane their necks to see what’s going on, and neighbors will start talking, trying to determine if things are as they thought they were.

The wave will spread through the Arsenal crowd, a whisper in the wind: City have conceded. West Ham United scored. Maybe a quarter of the stadium would hear it. Maybe half. There are many, many things that might be considered the worst aspects of modern football. But the winners may be those who pretend their title rivals are losing on the final day of the season.

There is likely to be a strange atmosphere at Emirates on Sunday. Arsenal are having a winning season by any measure: more wins than even the Invincibles recorded in 2004, boasting the best defense in England, and playing against five teams the club considers their real rivals remained unbeaten in the tournament and scored a commendable 89 points. Yet it could end sadly, with Arsenal’s wait for the English title continuing into its third decade.

Of course, there are many reasons to be hopeful. Mikel Arteta’s side are a young side that are improving rapidly, and from that perspective Arsenal appear best placed to challenge Manchester City again next year.

The thing is – and it’s important to note – the higher you go, the thinner the air gets. How many more points can Arsenal reasonably take next year? Will buying some valuable forwards or tweaking the midfield add 10 players? Five more? Will that be enough to dislodge a Manchester City team that has racked up 91 points this season without really trying?

Discussion of Tuesday’s Tottenham Hotspur-Manchester City match, which will virtually decide the outcome of the Premier League title, centers around two misconceptions.

The first – and most far-fetched – is for Spurs to decide whether they want to win the game and steer the Premier League trophy towards Arsenal by beating Manchester City. People seem to forget that, in all the moral angst about the right way to support a football team, Spurs can try as hard as they like and still lose easily to Pep Guardiola’s side.

However, it was the second misunderstanding that seemed to piss off Spurs head coach Anj Postkoglu. He seems unable to understand – at least in his public discussions on the subject – why Tottenham Hotspur fans might feel ambivalent at least to the idea that their team’s ambitions serve the dreams of their fiercest rivals.

It goes without saying that those Tottenham fans who are not completely sad to see their team lose are being stingy. Clearly, this was malicious and petty. Generally speaking, gloating about someone else’s misfortune is not a good look. But it’s also completely natural, completely human, and a core part of being a fan. Of course, your team’s success is your top priority. But without that, your competitor’s failure is a perfectly acceptable consolation prize.

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