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Are so many televised fixtures a positive or a negative for Sunderland?

The Lads have been one of the main attractions for live Championship football this season, but is it problematic that so many games have been moved to suit broadcast schedules?

Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Martin Wanless says...

From an absolutely selfish point of view, move them. Move them all! For a bit of context, I live in Australia (my own fault, I know). When I did live at home and had a season ticket all those years, I hated games being moved for TV, but now I love it.

For one, it’s easier to watch as it’s on mainstream channels. The coverage is better, the commentators are (usually) better. But the big one is the kick off times are better. Lunchtime kick offs at home are late evening kick offs here (9.30pm-11.30pm, depending on the time difference). Evening games at home are early morning starts here (4.45am to 6.45am, again depending on the time of year).

I don’t mind either of those too much. 3pm kick offs are either 12am or 2am here, and that’s an alarm call and a grumpy old b*astard the next day if we get beat.

So, for me at least, televised fixtures are a massive positive.

For the team, however, it’s probably not beneficial - it will disrupt the week a bit. But, given our last two games have been live on TV and we’ve won both, maybe the big screen suits us!

Andrew Smithson says...

On the plus side, being on TV so often is presumably boosting the coffers and will certainly help to raise our profile. Who knows, it may even make arranging sponsorship deals a little easier too, but in an ideal world I must admit I’d prefer a few more traditional kickoff times.

I’m fortunate in that I live close enough to the ground and the type of job I have means that I can make home games whenever they are scheduled, but I know that thousands of others don’t have those luxuries.

The number of changes this season must be driving them mad- particularly fuel prices and the ongoing public transport uncertainty making things even harder.

Younger fans are also impacted by night matches and I fear that some local pubs and shops are going to feel a knock-on effect too, as supporters that can still go to matches may be less inclined to have a pre-match drink if they are dashing over straight from work.

I doubt the chopping and changing helps the squad, either.

Players can’t get into a proper rhythm and may end up with less recovery time than some of their opponents, but if we are being honest, we’re probably too far down the line now for the situation to change.

TV bosses have their own considerations to make when deciding their schedules and I understand that, but I do think it’s worth remembering that if fans are no longer able to attend matches in person, the product being broadcast won’t be as appealing.

Being on the box does bring some advantages and I daresay there will be some exiles who are over the moon, but this season has felt a little bit too much for me and a few more 3:00pm Saturday kickoffs would be very welcome.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Moving games for me as an exile is a mixed situation.

If I’m planning to do the seven hour round trip to go to a weekend game and I get tickets and make all the arrangements then a game is bumped late, that’s a proper pain in the arse. I live too far away and work too many hours to make midweek games, including Mondays.

Conversely, as is too often the case and I cannot make a SOL game even if I plan it way in advance, having the chance to see my team on Sky live and that being paid for already is a real bonus.

We saw very little of the lads on TV across our time in League One, and I also lived in New Zealand for nearly six years while we were in the top flight (though we still ended up hardly ever shown on Sky over there, and on Match of the Day we generally got two minutes at 23:55 every weekend) so making up for that is welcome.

I don’t think it’s fair that paying fans should be out of pocket hence I think the changes should not be allowed any later than a set period ahead, but for people like me, sod's law says the one they shift late will be the one I’m trying to see in person.

I don’t really think playing at different times gives us any major advantage either, though if we can build up some momentum from the recent back-to-back wins and then can play before others to cement our position and maybe open up gaps on those below, that may work for us rather than against us.

What this fixture bumping does say is we are a larger club than most at this level and we have a very passionate fan base who will inflate the viewing figures of Sky Sports if we are picked to be shown, as even when we are on TV we still get about ten thousand more fans in than the rest of the second tier down at the ground.

I also think the football we are playing is a factor - play like we are and score goals like we do and it is something a lot of independents will tune in to. A gloved complement for Tony and the lads.

Unfortunately what this situation also says is money runs the top and second tiers these days, so these changes are something we will have to suck up and get used to. I say enjoy it and do your bit to also get to the stadium when you can, as on a good day there is no better place to be.


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