If the Premier League gets its way, it could be coming very soon.

According to The Times, the prospect of 7.45pm kick-offs is being seriously considered by clubs.

It has also been reported that late-morning Sunday kick-offs are on the agenda, in a bid to appeal to the Asian market.

That would mean games kicking off at either 11.30am or noon, peak time in the Far East.

The next TV broadcasting deal, which takes effect from the 2019-20 season, will see the number of live games increased. This season saw 168 games screened, but the plan is to increase that to at least 190, and possibly more than 200 in the next two years.

The idea, The Times report, was discussed at a meeting of Premier League chairmen in Harrogate last week. Liverpool were represented by principal owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and new chief executive Peter Moore.

Such a move is unlikely to sit well with match-going supporters, who already face significant disruption due to fixture changes forced by television scheduling.

Liverpool, for example, had just six traditional ‘Saturday 3pm’ kick-offs last season, with 29 of their matches screened live on television.

Despite that, figures show that Sky’s Premier League TV audiences fell by 14 per cent last season – with the TV giants insisting that is evidence of changing viewing habits among supporters. It is reported that Sky GO and Now TV mobile subscriptions rose by 31 per cent.

The Premier League’s existing TV deals with Sky and BT Sport are worth £5.14 billion for the domestic rights over three years, and the total TV income with overseas rights included is £8.5 billion.

Bids for the next broadcasting contract will be invited before the end of 2017, with the outcome likely to come in February.

Source: Liverpool Echo

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