Kick-off times for the Premier League fixtures on Boxing Day and New Year's Day have been released, with all 20 matches being broadcast live.
Thursday’s news that the traditional Boxing Day fixture line-up has been shaken up to accommodate four different kick-off times hasn’t gone down particularly well with the fans – and it turns out that New Year's Day will follow the same pattern.
The Times has revealed that there will be games kicking off at 12.30pm, 3pm, 5.30pm and 8pm on Boxing Day for the first time – though it should be noted that there were also four different kick-off times in the Premier League last season.
The late fixture will be between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium, and is sure to frustrate Reds fans who'll face difficulty travelling at that time of year. Last season, the 7:30pm kick-off was at least between Watford and Chelsea, confined within the London area.
Arsenal and Manchester United's game at the Emirates on January 1 occupies the late 8pm slot that day, with two matches scheduled for 12.30pm, three at 3pm and the final three at 5.30pm.
Boxing Day fixture kick-offs
There will be nine games on Boxing Day spread over the four kick-off times, including Leicester vs Liverpool at 8pm.
- Tottenham vs Brighton (12.30pm)
- Aston Villa vs Norwich (3pm)
- Bournemouth vs Arsenal (3pm)
- Chelsea vs Southampton (3pm)
- Crystal Palace vs West Ham (3pm)
- Everton vs Burnley (3pm)
- Sheffield United vs Watford (3pm)
- Manchester United vs Newcastle (5.30pm)
- Leicester vs Liverpool (8pm)
Friday, December 27
- Wolves vs Manchester City (7.45pm)
New Year's Day fixture kick-offs
There will also be nine games on New Year's Day spread over four kick-off times, including Brighton vs Chelsea and Burnley vs Aston Villa in the 12.30pm slot. The 10th game of the round will see Liverpool vs Sheffield United at Anfield on January 2. They will all be televised on BT Sport.
- Brighton vs Chelsea (12.30pm)
- Burnley vs Aston Villa (12.30pm)
- Southampton vs Tottenham (3pm)
- Newcastle vs Leicester (3pm)
- Watford vs Wolves (3pm)
- Manchester City vs Everton (5.30pm)
- Norwich vs Crystal Palace (5.30pm)
- West Ham vs Bournemouth (5.30pm)
- Arsenal vs Manchester United (8pm)
Friday, January 2
- Liverpool vs Sheffield United (8pm)
Amazon Prime join the party
For the first time, Amazon Prime will stream every Boxing Day game live, as well as Manchester City’s trip to Molineux the following day.
Scheduling the fixtures was such a complicated process that there has been a six-day delay in announcing when the games in December and January would take place and where they would be aired.
The complexity came from dealing with three different broadcasters for the first time in Amazon, BT Sport and Sky Sports, as well as there being three rounds in which all 10 games will be aired live.
Boxing Day is on a Thursday this year, meaning that the turnaround before the following weekend’s games is very quick.
In 2018, Amazon paid £90 million over three years to show 20 Premier League games per season.
Their first package is a midweek round from December 3, when 10 games will be shown over three days, including two unusual Thursday night games. The kick-off times for those games are also unusual – 7.30pm and 8.15pm, rather than the 7.45pm and 8pm games fans are more accustomed to.
Why are people upset?
Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly released a statement before the confirmation of their late Boxing Day kick-off to highlight the problems it would cause for the travelling support.
“Our biggest concern is that our Boxing Day fixture away at Leicester City could be 8pm — that’s awful — with public transport difficulties, the expense, late returns and beyond,” it read.
The Football Supporters’ Federation has also weighed in by criticising the delay in announcing the dates and times of the festive fixtures.
They said: “The TV selections for December and January were due to be published by October 11. This has meant many fans wanting to book travel to games in the busy December period are potentially losing out on cheaper travel.
“Broadcasters’ impact on supporters, leaving match-going fans out of pocket on numerous occasions last season, has been a growing problem in recent years as the number of televised games has increased.”
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