Premier League’s creative ‘all areas access’ idea can fill void

Premier League’s creative ‘all areas access’ idea can fill void
The harsh financial realities of the coronavirus pandemic are behind the Premier League’s push with ‘Project Restart’ and getting the season completed. With 92 matches still left to be played, there are ramifications for those at both ends of the table whether it be fending off relegation or trying to secure a Champions League berth.

All eyes were on the Bundesliga last weekend as it became the first major European league to resume after an enforced two-month hiatus. Although the stadiums were eerily quiet, the first round of fixtures were illuminated with some great football and the TV viewing figures were impressive.

Premier League clubs, meanwhile, took their first steps towards resuming their season on Tuesday when they began small group training. Rigorous testing methods have now been imposed, although at the time of writing, Watford’s Adrian Mariappa returned a positive test for coronavirus.

Currently, it seems that June 26 is a more likely start date for games to be played once again, but broadcasters will be watching on anxiously.

Proposals have been submitted by BT Sport and Sky Sports and in a dossier sent to clubs before a ‘Project Restart’ meeting, they outlined their desire for viewers to be given “unprecedented access”. On their list of demands was having audio in the manager’s dugout as well as screening footage from dressing rooms and the tunnel for the first time.

There is a lot at stake as Sky Sports and BT Sports will be entitled to a refund of £762million if the season doesn’t resume and even if it does, they could be given an extra rebate of £36m for every week the season extends beyond July 16.

The prospect of games being played in empty stadiums doesn’t appeal to broadcasters and they have to think more creatively to satisfy the fans.

The Premier League is a prestigious product that has spent years being polished and refined to make it commercially attractive. Indeed, if it weren’t for Sky and its innovative methods, then perhaps the Premier League wouldn’t be what it is today.

With that said, the matchday experience is imperative for the fans and making it as authentic as possible when they can’t attend games.

By providing some pizzazz and giving it the ‘Amazon’ treatment, the Premier League are shining a light on what goes on behind the scenes and it gives fans an insight they wouldn’t normally have.

Of course, the players have a responsibility to behave both on and off the pitch as any profane language will be picked up immediately and shown across the world.

Fans want to feel connected, especially when they have had to spend the last couple of months deprived of seeing their team in action and either watching endless repeats of old matches or turning to Amazon or Netflix for some kind of fix by watching the wealth of sporting documentaries that have been released.

The Premier League is under pressure to deliver and the fans are at the heart of the game. In these somewhat bleak times, there is light at the end of the tunnel and the ‘all areas access’ suggestion could fill the void.

 

Written by Charles Perrin

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