In late November, Sky Sports announced the signing of a new 5 year deal with the EFL, worth in the region of £595 million. The five year deal was protested by a number of big clubs in the Championship including Aston Villa, Derby County, and Leeds United.
Despite the financial benefits for the teams from the deal, many feel that it undermines the league. Another important consideration in this argument is the impact on fans.
Sky have a history of moving fixtures in order to fit more games into a weekend, with Friday nights becoming a popular slot for Championship games. Whilst this suits a TV audience, it puts fans attending the game in a difficult position.
West Bromwich Albion have had four Friday night games since their relegation last season, including away games at Middlesbrough and Ipswich. Before the latest Friday fixture at home against Aston Villa, we asked fans for their opinion on the movement of their fixtures.
One fan told our reporter “I’ve had to change my plans for tonight to get to this match. I’ve had to give a standby at work so I’ve lost a bit. But that doesn’t matter to Sky really, it doesn’t matter to them what happens to us. That’s the way I look at it any way.”
Albion’s 2-2 draw with Midlands rivals Aston Villa followed up another TV game on Monday night against Brentford. Some fans were not happy about the quick turnaround between the two fixtures.
Another fan told us “It’s a pain quite frankly. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the Brentford game hadn’t have been on Monday, if that had been on the weekend. But to have a game moved to a Monday and one moved the other way to a Friday, there just far too close together.
“Much closer than they need to be. We’re on telly next Friday as well and we’ve had the lees game on a Saturday night as well. Quite frankly it’s a pain for someone like me. What do I do on a Saturday?”
West Brom’s next game is another Friday night up at Sheffield United, which looks set to cause more headaches for the fans.