The Premier League will return to live game action on June 17th, and while plenty of details still need to be worked out, one note was definitively announced on Thursday.
In the Premier League’s statement, they noted that ten weekend windows (which includes Friday and Monday) had been approved for airing games, along with six for mid-week games.
Here are those windows, per the PL.
Weekend matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):
Saturday 12:30; 15:00; 17:30; 20:00
Sunday 12:00; 14:00; 16:30; 19:00
Midweek matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):
Tuesday 18:00; 20:00
Wednesday 18:00; 20:00
Thursday 18:00; 20:00
In case your time zone math isn’t good, the weekend match times are 3 PM ET Friday, 7:30 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:30 PM, and 3 PM ET Saturday, 7 AM, 9 AM, 11:30 AM, and 2 PM ET Sunday, and 3 PM ET Monday. The weekday matchtimes are 1 PM and 3 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Needless to say, the prospect of ten games in four days each weekend got people excited, including NBC’s Joe Prince-Wright.
So, here in the USA, from Saturday June 20 you will now be able to watch LIVE Premier League action from 7:30am to 5pm ET each Saturday, and from 7am ET to 4pm ET each Sunday.
4 back-to-back games on each day.
That is wilddddd. I love it. ????????????⚽️https://t.co/aNy5Xu8Pou
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) May 28, 2020
The Athletic came around to dump water on the idea, noting that just because the extra windows were approved, that doesn’t mean they’ll all be filled each week.
These slots will not all necessarily be filled, and there may not be matches every single day, every week. Teams are set to play each other in the order scheduled before the competition was suspended.
I think that, more than anything else, this is a hedge if one week has a slate of wholly non-compelling games. For example, in matchweek 36 (which would take place sometime in late July, per the Premier League’s plans), the three best matches are Arsenal-Liverpool, Leicester-Sheffield, and…Crystal Palace-Manchester United? Newcastle-Spurs? Does the Premier League, even with all games airing on television after the restart, really need to give Southampton-Brighton its own window that week?
I also doubt that the Premier League will deviate from its Matchweek 38 strategy of all matches kicking off at the same time, meaning that we’ll get ten matches at once (either on Saturday or Sunday, likely August 1st or 2nd, per the league’s tentative plans). That planned end date also seems to indicate that the Premier League will only have the need to put on two sets of mid-week matchweeks following the planned June 17th start date.
As for NBC’s scheduling, they have five NASCAR Cup Series races scheduled in June and July, with only one of those five races scheduled for primetime. That could create something of a logjam with the Premier League’s expanded windows, especially when taking the Xfinity Series (five more weekend races, one in primetime), qualifying, and any practices into account. Throw in the NHL’s proposed return, and how that could also bloat NBC’s schedule, and we could be looking at a very lively summer for the Peacock, despite the postponement of the Summer Olympics earlier this year.