Fixture scheduling dialogue continues with Sky Sports

In November, Tim Rolls representing the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, along with representatives of Spirit of Shankly, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’Trust and the Football Supporters’ Federation met with senior Executives from Sky Sports to discuss the impact of the rescheduling of Premier League matches for broadcast on match going fans, particularly away supporters. A further meeting was held on 22 February, with comment to follow.

 

Ongoing dialogue surrounding the scheduling of Premier League fixtures for TV took place at the latest meeting between supporter groups and representatives from Sky Sports.

The meetings were set up to give consideration to supporter groups and the impact on fans, particularly travelling fans, of fixture schedule changes when making TV selections, while at the same time outlining the requirements and considerations that have to be taken into account from a broadcast perspective.

Sky Sports is always mindful of the impact of their selections, taking this into consideration where possible on TV picks to minimise the impact on fans. The company also recognises that its customers and match-going fans are one and the same.

Fan reps now a have a greater understanding of the complexities of fixture scheduling, particularly the various contractual obligations broadcasters must meet.

Kat Law from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, said: “We were encouraged by Sky’s enthusiasm to continue to build a working relationship with supporter representatives and the desire, from the top of the organisation, to consider travelling supporters when scheduling matches for live coverage.”

Gary Hughes, Sky Sports Head of Football, said: “We welcome this conversation with supporters about travelling to away matches and understanding the issues they face. It has also been helpful to outline the process we go through to select live fixtures, and the contractual obligations that ensure every club and every ground is featured regularly across the various slots we can schedule matches in. We have listened to the feedback, will continue to do so and widen this dialogue in future.”

While broadcasters have an influence on the match schedule throughout the season, the ultimate responsibility for fixture scheduling rests with the Premier League, and supporter groups are renewing the call for representatives from the Premier League to engage in these discussions as positively as Sky have done.

The supporter reps will now seek meetings with the Premier League, BT Sport, the train operators and individual clubs as they look for a joined-up approach to ensuring fixture rescheduling for broadcast purposes has minimal impact on travelling fans in the future.

4 thoughts on “Fixture scheduling dialogue continues with Sky Sports”

  1. I unfortunately got done by the Middlesbrough date change. I’m travelling from Sydney, Australia to what was meant to be my first ever Chelsea game, where I booked my itinerary around being in London on that weekend. I even bought memberships just to get tickets. I never expected the game to change to a Monday :( Changing my flights would cost thousands.
    Heartbroken and out of pocket. To be honest, if I knew I wasn’t going to the match, I wouldn’t have even put London on the itinerary, as I’ve been there before.
    The TV companies have shattered my dream, and taken the major highlight away from my trip. Hopefully will get to see a game at some point in the future, but I can’t see it happening anytime soon.

    1. Hi Sam
      Thank you for your comment. I can only begin to imagine your anger and disappointment, and I thought Boro fans were being treated harshly! No consolation I’m sure, but we will use your experience to highlight the real problems of fixture changes when our representative, Tim Rolls, holds his next meetings with the Premier League and the TV Companies. And we hope to see you at the Bridge soon, hopefully before it’s demolished!

      1. Hi Debbie,
        Thank you, I really appreciate your sympathy. Unfortunately, i didn’t get any sympathy when i emailed the club, so thank you for your response.
        It really is very upsetting as fans like myself who live on the other side of the world never have any luck. We stay up throughout the night, or wake up at odd hours to watch matches. We turn up to work half asleep when a big match is on a Sunday night (Sydney time). We can only dream to get a chance to go to a single match in our lifetimes. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to rely on the advertised match dates, as we need to organize flights and accommodation months in advance. Then we have to try to compete for tickets, which is almost impossible nowadays. In spite of all of this, we try, just to see our idols play in real life.
        This process has really been a roller-coaster of emotions; from buying memberships and hoping they arrive in time, logging-in to watch the ticket sales for other games – just to ensure i know how long the wait time is, hoping their isn’t loyalty points added for the match (as i have no chance of every accumulating any) and finally seeing the match’s date change right before my eyes.
        There are obviously more important things in life, so i feel bad for complaining, but it’s been bitterly disappointing, to a point that it brought a 31 year old man to tears. I do hope that i get a chance to watch a game at London in my lifetime, but the odds seem like they are strongly against me.

  2. Travelling supporters need more advanced notice of changes. It defeats the object of reduced price away tickets if fans have to pay top prices for travel. Reduced price train tickets are released three months prior to the date of travel.

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