Manchester City and Wigan Athletic fans have flooded into Wembley Stadium in London for the FA Cup Final.
The FA Cup final has been a centre piece of British sport for 132 years making it the most famous domestic cup game in the world. Despite its importance in society, it has failed to make an in-print on television the say way that the US Super Bowl does.
The Super Bowl is the yearly championship match in American football, where up to 100 million will tune in to witness the game. You could be mistaken for thinking its a public holiday when the Super Bowl occurs as the nation comes together to eat, drink and celebrate the game.
Although it is not just the game that many tune in for, its the half time show and the converted commercials which feature between game stoppages. The network hosting the game will generate huge revenues, using it as a platform to launch new shows following the match.
This is something that is noted each year and it is something British networks are trying to create for audiences here. The decision to have the kick-off at 5.15pm, rather than its traditional early afternoon slot, prompted some to accuse the FA of playing into the hands of the broadcaster, ITV.
Last year the decision to air the match later was a good move, with nearly 9 million watching the game – the highest since 2007.
As a commercial broadcaster ITV is out to make money, how else would it survive. Having the game in early evening, heading into primetime will surely generate more advertising revenue.
The FA Cup Final lacks the surge of enthusiasm that we see with the Super Bowl. Due to the nature of the game we can’t have stoppages every 10 minutes to cram in the flashy contemporary commercials specially made for the day or display half time shows with a mega pop star drawing in the crowds.
Whether in years to come television companies will get more involved to drum up the entertainment factor remains to be seen. For football fans the only thing that matters is the football, and more importantly – winning.