Spanish football to change kick-off times…to satisfy the UK audience

The kick-offs for La Liga’s televised Saturday afternoon matches will be pushed back to meet the demands of the UK televisiuon audience.

In 2013, viewers in the UK missed the first 15 minutes of el clásico because of the British broadcasting law that does not permit games to be shown on television from 2.45pm until 5.15pm.

From next season La Liga’s traditional 6pm kick-off time will change to 6.15pm to enable those matches to be shown in full on UK television.

Javier Tebas, the president of the Spanish league, told radio programme El Partido de las 12, broadcast on Cope of the change. Asked by the presenters if the change would mean there would be no “big games” at 6.15pm, he replied that was not true.

Two Sunday kick-off times will also be changing. The 5pm start will be moved to 4.30pm and the 9pm match will be played at 8.30pm. There will continue to be games on Saturdays at 4pm, 8pm and 10pm, and on Sundays at noon and 7pm.

Tebas said that Friday and Monday games would continue to be played at 9pm, a time that has not gone down to well in Spain as it means that many schoolchildren will miss the matches.

Tebas also defended the unpopular decision of introducing a Sunday midday game by saying it was to appeal to the Asian markets.

The number of kick-off times have proved confusing and unpopular and is cited as one of the reasons La Liga attendances dropped considerably in the 2014-15 season. On average, stadiums were 64% full, well behind the Premier League’s 90%.