Serie A set for early Saturday KO to boost Asia appeal
Serie A is set to include an early Saturday kick-off slot in its scheduling in the new rights cycle in a bid to further tap Asian audiences, according to reports in Italy.
New league president Paolo Dal Pino is giving consideration to having one match start at 12.30pm (CET) or 1.30pm on Saturdays from 2021-22, so that it airs at prime-time in Asia, a practice that has become common in England's Premier League and Spain's LaLiga.
One game already kicks off at 12.30pm on Sundays at present, and while Serie A has scheduled earlier starts on Saturdays before, they have never been part of the fixed schedule dictated by the broadcast contracts.
He said: "Rethinking the match times? It is one of the issues raised by several presidents and will be discussed. I am sensitive to this issue because we must think of those who watch our football not only in our country: we have gigantic potential that we cannot develop if we do not think with this flexibility."
At present, the Serie A weekend kick-off slots are Saturday 3pm, Saturday 6pm, Saturday 8.45pm, Sunday 12.30pm, Sunday 3pm (three matches), Sunday 6pm and Sunday 8.45pm. There is one game each weekend that is either played on a Friday or Monday evening.
Pay-TV's Sky and subscription streaming platform DAZN are mid-way through a three-year deal worth €973 million ($1.1 billion) per season.
The league is presently weighing up an offer from Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, to establish an in-house league channel.