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Consuming the match tonight John?

By Mark Burke



Manchester City players celebrate at the end of the season after with the FA Cup at The City of Manchester football stadium, Manchester, north-west England on May 23, 2011
Manchester City players celebrate at the end of the season after with the FA Cup at The City of Manchester football stadium, Manchester, north-west England on May 23, 2011

The FA's general secretary Alex Horne last week defended late kick-off times on the basis of their appeal to a television audience.   

Horne said: "We're now used to consuming our football in those time slots. It really works. Lunchtime kick-offs just haven't got the same appeal. The 5.15pm kick-off for the final was really successful. We added a couple of million viewers. It's a sensible compromise."  

When did football fans become 'consumers'? When did they ever 'consume' football ? I don't remember ever 'consuming' a match, do you? "Alright John, you going down the pub to consume the match tonight?"  "Yeah I think so but might have to give the first half a miss but I'll definitely consume the second half with ya".  

Actually people are NOT used to 'consuming', football as he so quaintly puts it, at stupid times, it's just that the 'consumers' have no choice.   

Football is now geared more towards the televison 'consumer' than the 'consumers' who are there in the flesh to consume it but without the people there to consume it live the game becomes less attractive to the 'consumers' at home as the atmosphere is not there, then if the TV companies see  'consumption'  levels dropping then they start to question their investment.  

The FA and the game in general is beholden to TV, we know that, but the TV companies must be careful in their treatment of the consumers, if only from a selfish point of view.  

They need to find the right balance between keeping the core consumer base the consumers who actually go the games (these are the anchor tenants and need to be kept happy, for without these the game becomes cold and lifeless) and the secondary and some would say, most important group, the TV consumers  who need to be spoon fed the games at times that suit but that doesnt necesssarily mean that the consumers who attend the game have to end up arriving home two days after the game has finished because the last train left at half time while they were consuming the match.   I'm off at the weekend to consume a match somewhere, last week I was in Holland and consumed Vitesse Arnhems collapse at Roda, 3-0 up and drew 3-3, it was a great game to consume and when I got home I consumed the highlights again.