Over the weekend, it was revealed that UEFA was discussing the possibility of putting some more Champions League games during the weekend starting in 2021, when the new broadcasting window begins. The current situation is that games are played on Tuesday or Wednesday night in Europe and the Final played on a Saturday afternoon.
UEFA has been trying to find ways to create more interest in their club tournament. Yes, it’s already the most popular club tournament in the world but there’s always room to improve I guess. UEFA has also discussed changing the system to two groups of eight teams for the final 16 in order to ensure better matchups for a worldwide audience.
The reason to move games to the weekend is to raise interest of the Champions League in Asia. Asia is the latest untapped market and when games are played at night during in Europe, it’s at the middle of the night in Asia. People in the U.S. may complain that they have to work during Champions League games but at least we see games in the afternoon.
By putting games on the weekend, games would be shown in the morning in the Americas, afternoon in Europe and Africa and prime time in Asia. Unfortunately Hawaii and the Pacific islands get screwed with games in the middle of the night but this plan will at least cause games to be seen by the most people possible at a reasonable hour.
Now there are many variables to moving Champions League games to weekends because not everyone would be accepting of this plan. One would be the leagues themselves. Think about it. Leagues already have the weekends to themselves and have the prime timeframes for a worldwide audience. Why would leagues want to give up a bunch of weekends and move their teams to midweek and not be available for a wider worldwide audience?
Unless UEFA gives enough money to these leagues to make up for the lost weekends, the leagues will never go with it and the plan will never come to fruition. Which is sad because this is actually a great idea. Maybe if UEFA just moves the Quarterfinals and Semifinals to the weekends, it may not be too bad to move four weekends worth of games. Heck, even just the Semifinal games on the weekends and leagues move two weekends worth of games would be an improvement. Maybe if weekend games results in more TV revenue and more money for teams, there’s a chance. There’s still a long way to go before this becomes a reality.