x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Spain moves the television times

The thinking is that the early kick offs mean that the Asian market can watch matches during their evening.

To stay still is to stagnate. After years of being resistant to change, Spanish football is making tweaks because it feels it is lagging behind England's Premier League outside Spain. The Primera Liga may bill itself as the best in the world, but it is a long way behind its English rival in terms of global popularity.

From this season, games have been spread over eight different time slots including Monday night and midday Sunday. It is a big shift from the traditional time of 5pm on a Sunday.

Real Madrid played for the first time at noon last Sunday and beat Osasuna 7-1 at home in front of a full house. The thinking is that the early kick offs mean that the Asian market can watch matches during their evening, while the late kick offs are better for the American market.

That may not be the only change with Sandro Rosell, the Barcelona president, wanting to decrease the size of the league from 20 to 16 clubs because some of the lesser clubs are struggling financially, and to introduce a collective television deal similar to the other major European leagues to boost competition.

Has it escaped him that the reason the lesser clubs are struggling financially is because Barca and Real received €140 million (Dh708.9m) from television revenue last season while Atletico Madrid and Valencia got €42m? The rest of the league got an average of just €16m between them. If the smaller teams were getting €40m then they would not be on the verge of bankruptcy.