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Opinion

Broadcasters turn their backs on Newcastle United

1 month ago
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On Friday, NUFC fans heard the third announcement of the summer regarding Newcastle United Live TV Matches for the upcoming 2021/22 season.

The announcement covered the Premier League games in October, following the earlier announcements for August and September.

Yesterday we found out that Newcastle v Tottenham has been moved from Saturday 16 October to Sunday 17 October with a 4.30pm kick-off, to be shown live on Sky Sports.

Putting the three announcements together, it means that up to the end of October 2021, only three of Newcastle’s opening ten Premier League games will be shown live in the UK and amongst those not a single away match.

A far cry from last season when so long as you had access to the various broadcaster packages, you could watch all 38 of the Newcastle United Premier League games in 2020/21 during lockdown etc.

With only three selected this season so far for NUFC, I wondered how we compared and contrasted with the other 19 Premier League clubs.

Number of times Premier League clubs selected for live UK TV broadcast up until end of October (Monday 1 November):

8 Arsenal, Liverpool

7 Man Utd, Tottenham, Chelsea

6 West Ham

5 Leeds, Man City, Everton

4 Crystal Palace, Brentford, Brighton, Wolves, Aston Villa

3 Newcastle United, Norwich, Burnley, Leicester

2 Southampton

1 Watford

I honestly can’t ever remember so few Newcastle United matches having been chosen in the past at the start of a new season, only three of the first ten. Only Watford and Southampton chosen fewer times.

This especially stands out when these days the broadcasters have extended their reach and will show a majority of 2021/22 Premier League matches live this season in the UK.

The Steve Bruce’s ‘style’ of football has definitely not gone unnoticed…

What struck me most in these opening ten games (see below) was when I saw games like Man Utd away and Chelsea at home not chosen, alarm bells ringing when even these games aren’t been picked up by Sky or BT, two fixtures that to my memory are almost always snapped up for live broadcast.

Down the years, even when not competing towards the top end, you could almost always expect Newcastle United to be chosen more than anyone else, outside of the obvious handful of ‘elite’ clubs, Newcastle even sometimes shown more than some of those self-appointed elite despite poor showings on the pitch and in the league table.

Last season I watched a lot of Premier League football with all matches shown and more time on my hands, working from home etc, furloughed some of the time.

I have to say that only a few clubs were pretty unwatchable and that would be Sheffield United, West Brom, Burnley and Newcastle United. I watched all of our matches but honestly, it took some will power at times.

No surprise to see the likes of West Ham and especially Leeds picked more than Newcastle in these opening three months of the 2021/22 season, who would want to watch NUFC unless you’re an addicted fan of the club?

My prediction for the rest of the season is that unless something dramatic happens at Newcastle United, we are going to see a very predictable season-long relegation battle and the number of time NUFC are chosen to be shown live, will depend on how deep into relegation trouble we get. Whilst nobody would be choosing Steve Bruce’s Newcastle based on the quality / style of football, the likes of Sky Sports will find it irresistible when we get into 2022, if Ashley and Bruce have us deep in trouble.

The relegation will indeed be televised BUT if Newcastle United stay just unwatchable and fifth or sixth bottom, don’t expect to see a lot of us on your TV screens.

This is how the August, September and October NUFC 2021 Premier League schedule now looks:

Sunday 15 August 2pm – West Ham home (Sky Sports)

Saturday 21 August 3pm – Aston Villa home

Saturday 28 August 3pm – Southampton home

Saturday 11 September 3pm – Man Utd away

Friday 17 September 8pm – Leeds home (Sky Sports)

Saturday 25 September 3pm – Watford away

Saturday 2 October 3pm – Wolves away

Sunday 17 October 4.30pm – Spurs home (Sky Sports)

Saturday 23 October 3pm – Crystal Palace away

Saturday 30 October 3pm – Chelsea home

The next scheduled announcement for the next set of Newcastle United Live TV matches is Thursday 16 September, when the live TV choices for November 2021 are set to be announced.

Premier League Official Announcement:

‘Fixtures are amended throughout the season for several reasons, including live TV broadcast selections and to accommodate domestic and European cup competitions.

For this reason, Premier League fixtures are always advertised as being subject to change.

Below are the approximate dates for when the announcements on matches that have been selected for live TV broadcast will be made.

Period of matches (Provisional date of announcement)

September 2021 (5 July 2021)

October 2021 (6 August 2021)

November 2021 (16 September 2021)

December 2021 and January 2022 (11 October 2021)

February 2022 (14 December 2021)

March 2022 (24 January 2022)

April 2022 (21 February 2022)

May 2022 (4 April 2022)

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