Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has publicly announced his plans to revive his attempt to take the Premier League abroad.
Back in 2008, Scudamore proposed a plan to begin staging Premier League games abroad in order to increase the profile of the league, as well as provide an opportunity for clubs to generate extra income.
Ultimately, his first bid failed to go anywhere, but Scudamore has now restarted his attempts for an additional game to be added to the Premier League season, which would be staged in different cities across the globe.
Would it work?
The Premier League wouldn’t be the first sport to broaden their horizons; both the NBA and NFL have held competitive fixtures in England, both of which proved a great success. With football being one of the biggest sports in the world, one thing is for sure – there wouldn’t be a shortage of fans.
The Serie A have already taken a similar approach and have chosen to hold the Italian Super Cup match, between Juventus and Napoli, in Qatar. The match is scheduled to take place in December.
Teams such as Chelsea and Manchester United have drastically grown in popularity around the world, hosting hugely popular pre-season tours in areas such as America and Asia. Premier League games in other countries can only help to increase their fan-bases futher.
Would it take away from the competition?
The Premier League is famous for having some of the best stadiums in the world, which provide a great atmosphere week in week out. Although there are undoubtedly some great fans outside of England, I do not believe that a match staged out of the country would be comparable in atmosphere to a game staged in England.
What if the title race came down to the last day, or the fate of certain teams were still to be decided, as they battled at the bottom of the table to avoid relegation? The last thing they would want is to be worrying about travelling and adapting to new environments. If the title winner and relegated clubs had already been decided prior to the game, it would be less of a Premier League game and more of a friendly match.
Is it necessary?
For many years it has been suggested that the Premier League is one of the top leagues, with televised games being broadcast to fans around the world. A league that is able to attract some of the best players and managers available. The Premier League is already in a position where it can appeal to foreign fans without the need to take games abroad. In my opinion, Premier League teams already have all the exposure to the rest of the world that they need – pre-season tours and foreign players see to that.
For example, Manchester United will now have a much bigger appeal in South America after signing Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria – similar to the increase in Asian fans after Shinji Kagawa joined from Borussia Dortmund.
Playing games abroad provides great exposure to Premier League clubs, however I fail to see the benefits of adding it into the Premier League season.