No matter where you are in the world, a conversation about football will ultimately turn to the English Premier League (EPL). As the home of football, England has created a marketing machine that has driven the popularity of its league. No league in the world boasts as many fans, and no league is worth as much money.
All you need to do is look at the amount of money betted on Premier League scores to see how popular the EPL is. Money isn't just placed in England: there are people from around the globe betting money on the outcome of EPL matches. What makes the EPL quite so popular, and why are EPL matches the go-to favourite worldwide? Let's take a look.
How the EPL created an international stage
It is not a sheer chance that fans worldwide choose to tune into EPL matches above all others. It is not just some coincidence that international fans know all about the EPL stars and can tell you about every kick of the ball they've ever had. No, all of this was masterminded by the EPL to ensure that the league became a global phenomenon.
Have you ever heard of Game 39? Perhaps not, but back in 2008, this was part of the EPL plan to send its teams onto the world stage. The idea was that EPL teams would play a round of matches at venues across the world. FIFA wasn't a fan, and this meant that Game 39 never really got going. This didn't stop the EPL ploughing forward in other ways, though.
What happened instead of Game 39 was that EPL teams found themselves traveling a great deal. EPL teams would play wherever they could and see themselves adored by a whole new audience in pre-season, postseason, and any other opportunity in between.
The power of TV deals
The EPL became a bit of a frustration for English fans because of some of the TV deals made. Once upon a time, fans could watch their favourite teams in the top flight for free. The BBC and ITV screened the majority of games, and they were accessible by all. The EPL changed this and saw a bidding war taking place for the rights to screen the big matches. This led to pay per view in England, but it also saw the EPL spread around the globe.
TV deals were made left right and center. The EPL was being screened almost everywhere in the world. The only real exceptions are North Korea and Albania. Suddenly, people in countries such as Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong watched EPL matches and found a passion for their favourite teams.
The TV deals didn't just work all by themselves. Besides the money, other considerations made these such a success. One of the biggest was the timing of the matches. The EPL sees various kick-off times that differ from the traditional 3 pm. Although this may frustrate some of the fans in England, the matches are played at times when as many countries as possible can enjoy the live-action.
The English language
Another advantage that the EPL has over other leagues is the very fact that it is English. Whereas people may try and get passionate about La Liga or Serie A, the language barrier means that the experience just isn't quite the same as it is with the EPL.
English is the language that is most spoken the world over. This makes it easier for the EPL to explore far-flung destinations and seal the deal with television rights.
Another massive draw when it comes to the EPL is the quality of the players. Yes, there are some homegrown stares, but the EPL attracts the best players worldwide. How? English clubs are perhaps the richest in the world and can pay these stars handsomely.
With the biggest footballing names in the world comes a more significant global appeal and a bigger worldwide audience.