New Serie A President Dal Pino considers extra Saturday games

New Serie A President Dal Pino considers extra Saturday games
Serie A’s new President, Paolo Dal Pino, is considering moving more games from the Italian top-flight to Saturdays for the soccer league’s next rights cycle.

Currently, only one match kicks off at 3pm CET on Saturday, with other games taking place either on Friday evening, Saturday evening, or across Sunday. With Serie A’s next cycle covering the 2021/22 to 2023/24 seasons, Dal Pino is seriously weighing up the prospect of moving a Sunday 3pm CET game to the same timeslot on Saturday, which would likely appeal to both fans and broadcasters.

“Rethinking the match times? It is one of the issues raised by several presidents and will be discussed,” Dal Pino said. “I am sensitive to this issue because we must think of those who watch our football not only in our country –  we have gigantic potential that we cannot develop if we do not think with this flexibility.”

Luigi De Siervo, Serie A’s Chief Executive, had already said the league’s fixture calendar needed addressing if the competition was to maximise its reach both in Italy and abroad. He stated the current format “does not benefit the exposure of the championship”, adding that Serie A would only look to move one game due to the level of competition from other European soccer leagues already playing on Saturday afternoons. 

Defending champions Juventus have previously urged Serie A to schedule more early kick-offs to help the club grow their audience in Asia. By way of comparison, English soccer’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga both stage games earlier in the day to maximise their viewership in the region.

Dal Pino’s comments came as he addressed the Serie A assembly for the first time since being elected president earlier this month. Outlining his vision for the league, the former Telit Communications chief executive said transforming the competition into a media company in order to improve its international appeal would be key.

Dal Pino however stopped short of suggesting that becoming a media company meant “making a channel", avoiding comparisons with Mediapro’s plan to create a dedicated in-house Serie A network from 2021/22.

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