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Opinion

The Newcastle United r̶e̶l̶e̶g̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ revival will be televised

4 days ago
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Fans had become used to an abundance of Newcastle United Live TV Matches each season in the Premier League.

The people at BT Sport and Sky Sports selecting NUFC for purely business reasons, not sentimental.

A club with a massive fanbase wanting to see the games on TV, as well as popular amongst neutrals as well, who for whatever reasons, take more of an interest in what goes on at Newcastle United than most other clubs, season after season.

However, the selection of which Premier League matches to be shown in the early months of the 2021/22 season, was a bit of a surprise.

This is how many times each of the 20 Premier League clubs have been selected for live UK broadcast, by either BT Sport or Sky Sports, in August, September, October and November 2021:

11 Arsenal

10 Liverpool

9 Chelsea, Man Utd

8 Tottenham

7 Man City, Everton, Leeds, West Ham

6 Brighton

5 Aston Villa, Brentford, Newcastle United

4 Crystal Palace, Leicester, Wolves

3 Burnley, Norwich, Southampton, Watford

This isn’t a case of bemoaning how few Newcastle United Live TV Matches had been selected, just pointing out the cold hard fact that clearly interest in games involving our club had declined, from either Newcastle fans or neutrals, or indeed most likely, both neutrals and NUFC supporters.

The factors for this, at the top of the list the rotten negative football that Steve Bruce had implemented over the vast majority of his first two seasons, it becoming a chore for many NUFC fans to watch our games, So you can only imagine the reaction of neutrals! The fact that the last time St James Park was full of paying customers was back in May 2019, which proved to be Rafa’s very last home game, will have also impacted. Not a great TV spectacle to see masses of empty seats.

So with these opening months of selections, no surprise to see the likes of West Ham, Leeds, Everton and even Brighton, proving more popular with TV bosses (and viewers presumably).

Pretty savage stuff really, especially when you consider that after the conclusion of the 2016/17 season, an official report actually pointed to the absence of Newcastle United as one of the biggest factors in the decline of live TV watching figures that season. Newcastle United having instead boosted viewing figures in the Championship that season, as well as staggering 51,106 average at St James Park across 23 home league matches that second tier season.

The choice (or not) of live TV matches this season, had seen the likes of away at Man Utd and home to Chelsea ignored, Newcastle United fixtures that pretty much always are usually selected to be shown. Amusingly that led to Sky missing out on Ronaldo’s (second) home debut!

So after only five of  the first thirteen NUFC matches chosen so far for Sky or BT Sport, significantly less than we are used to, what is the best guess of what we can expect next?

Well, I think there may well have been an upturn anyway, to an extent, of how many Newcastle United Live TV Matches we would see picked in the months ahead, though I think these choices would have been based around the possibility of seeing NUFC in a dire relegation battle that they could well lose. Rather than it having been choosing us because of great football and packed houses at St James Park.

The timing of the Newcastle United takeover has been ideal for the broadcasters, as today (Monday 11 October) is the provisional scheduled day for the announcement of which PL matches have been chosen for both December 2021 and January 2022. The schedule (see below) is published at the start of the season and sometimes they do keep to those dates to make the announcement, other times it can be a matter of days later, up to a week later at the very most usually.

Sky Sports had already hit lucky with by chance having the new owners’ first match live next Sunday, home to Tottenham and the first sold out game since that final Rafa home game back in May 2019. Now they and BT Sport have been given the time and opportunity to rejig their December and January plans, to surely select Newcastle United far more times than they’d originally planned.

There are ten rounds of fixtures in December 2021 and January 2022 for Newcastle United and the rest of the Premier League.

We already know that two of those games will be shown live, with Amazon once again having two entire rounds of fixtures, so Newcastle home to Norwich (currently Wednesday 1 December) will be on Amazon, as will be Everton away (currently Tuesday 28 December). Meanwhile, regardless of TV selections, the away game at Leicester (currently Saturday 11 December) will definitely move as the Foxes are playing in the Europa League on the Thursday before.

We all understand that Newcastle United will not magically transform overnight, simply because we now have wealthy ambitious new owners. However, what I am pretty certain about, is that the media, including live TV matches, will be keen to cover events closely as NUFC begin this new era.

This is the August, September, October and November NUFC 2021 Premier League schedule:

Sunday 15 August 2pm – Newcastle 2 West Ham 4 (Sky Sports)

Saturday 21 August 3pm – Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0

Saturday 28 August 3pm – Newcastle 2 Southampton 2

Saturday 11 September 3pm – Man Utd 4 Newcastle 1

Friday 17 September 8pm – Newcastle 1 Leeds 1 (Sky Sports)

Saturday 25 September 3pm – Watford 1 Newcastle 1

Saturday 2 October 3pm – Wolves 2 Newcastle 1

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

Saturday 23 October 3pm – Crystal Palace away

Saturday 30 October 3pm – Chelsea home

Saturday 6 November 5.30pm – Brighton away (BT Sport)

Saturday 20 November 3pm – Brentford home

Saturday 27 November 12.30pm – Arsenal away (BT Sport)

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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