In his latest blog for the official Chelsea website, Stephen Rea explains how the differing kick-off times have made life challenging for our Stateside fans recently...
Do you watch every live game you can? Maybe you make time to see matches that matter to Chelsea? Or is it only when the Blues are on that you carve out two hours to sit down in front of a screen?
We are slap bang in the ‘business end’ of the season (cliché, I know). Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham are in a frantic sprint for two spots in the top four, and that’s not even taking into account the title race between Manchester City and Liverpool.
This week the Blues played on Monday, Spurs on Tuesday, and Manchester United and Arsenal on Wednesday. What did you follow live? If I still lived in the UK I would probably have tuned in all three evenings, but midweek contests are hard for Chelsea fans in America.
Here in the contiguous states (the 48 which don’t include Alaska and Hawaii), those fixtures kicked off between 11.45am on the west coast and 2.45pm in the east. With each taking the guts of two hours, it’s a huge chunk out of the workday.
The majority of employees will struggle to come up with creative ways to treat their lunch hour, or arrange meetings around following the games. I’m self-employed with a flexible schedule, but still, I couldn’t justify the time off to watch any match other than the action from Stamford Bridge.
In the past, we may have set a timer to tape a fixture, then dashed home after work to watch it. I doubt anyone still does that. I don’t have a recording device so I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to, but it seems too hard these days to avoid the score.
We have smart phone apps with social media updates and text alert. Unless you switch off your phone, don’t log onto the internet, and don’t turn on a sports channel, you will know what happened. And beyond coal miners at the pit face in West Virginia, I don’t know many Blues supporters who will go through doing all that.
As luck would have it, this Sunday our pub team have a game at almost the same time as we play at Old Trafford. Bet your bottom dollar I’ll be keeping tabs on that score during our own.