Athletic Club’s Dependence On TV Revenue And The Importance Of Monday and Friday Games

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Fans have been extremely unhappy with games scheduled on weeknights. (AC)

The fans have made their voices heard. Over the past few years more and more La Liga matches have been played on Monday and Friday nights which has made it extremely difficult for fans to attend games. The stadiums are far from full, atmosphere suffers, and the overwhelming majority of supporters want these games done away with. Some have even held demonstrations to express their anger while others have boycotted matches altogether.

La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation have been at war over the scheduling issue for over a year now. Because of the outrage from fans, the RFEF announced last season that Monday games would end and none were scheduled for the rest of the campaign. The two sides were supposed to meet this summer to negotiate an agreement but it was never reached. A few weeks ago La Liga revealed the 2019/2020 schedule which saw the return of Monday and Friday night games.

Unsurprisingly, the RFEF publically shared their frustration with La Liga and President Luis Rubiales took to social media to guarantee that the Monday night games would not happen. He would also explain that La Liga are not supposed to schedule Friday night games without prior approval from the Spanish Federation. The issue was then presented to a judge who ruled in favor of the RFEF.

After the judge’s ruling, the previously scheduled Monday and Friday games were moved to the weekends. Justice, Rubiales called it. The issue was still far from over, however, as La Liga immediately appealed and released a statement in which they stated that they are the only ones who are capable of properly scheduling matches. With just one week left until the season begins, Friday night games were reinstated but not those on Mondays. This resolution may be the best compromise for the two organizations, but most clubs have actually been in support of both Monday and Friday matches.

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Athletic will play 3 of their first 4 La Liga matches on Friday nights (AC)

Apart from La Liga’s big three, the other 17 clubs rely heavily on Television revenue which is greatly impacted by scheduling. As Juanma Mallo of El Correo points out, the current television deals in place with La Liga include regularly scheduling matches on Monday and Friday nights. Doing away with these games, or even just the ones on Mondays, would result in a significant loss of revenue which would impact every single club.

Rumors claim that most of the clubs in La Liga have given their support to keeping the Monday and Friday night games including Athletic. At the moment, 62% of Athletic’s total yearly income is television revenue. The number is even greater for other clubs such as Eibar (95%), Leganés (90%), and Levante (90%). In short, doing away with these matches would result in clubs generating far less income from television revenue which could have catastrophic consequences for many.

The scheduling conflict is an extremely difficult situation. On one hand, getting rid of Monday and Friday games would make fans very happy, but on the other it would cause clubs to generate less income. The latest resolution could very well be the best compromise and may even keep the television deals from being majorly altered. Reaching a permanent solution is the most important thing at this point, but there is no perfect answer.

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