News   |    March 4th, 2022

PREMIER LEAGUE POWER FOR UKRAINE

As the world continues to throw its various challenges to our evermore diverse society, it is yet again essential that we come together to support those in need. Most recently, those who are fighting for their lives in Ukraine. Often, we advocate the appropriate message on the largest sporting stages, including the Premier League. From LGBTQ+ rights to standing up to Racism, the Premier League and others alike have ensured their message is seen and heard. The Ukraine crisis is no exception, and yet another example of where the power of media and fans can be utilised.

4.7 billion people watch Premier League football on an annual basis, and that only includes standard in-home viewing, and not out-of-home (e.g., bars, pubs etc.) and mobile device viewing. Games are viewed in more than 643 million homes around the world, alongside bars, pubs and restaurants. With more than 1.4 billion people across the world identifying as a fan of a particular Premier League club, China has the most Premier League followers, with 300 million. India is next at 147 million, while there is an audience of 290 million people across Africa. As these figures were reported some years ago, it is assumed that currently more than 5 billion people have watched the Premier League at some point in the season, incredible considering the global population stands at 7.9 billion.

Further, executing such a vast coverage is no easy task. In the hands of Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC and Amazon Prime, the Premier League is guaranteed efficient and accurate coverage. So much so, the Premier League was shown in a total of 188 of the world’s 193 countries recognised by the United Nations. There were 262,102 hours of Premier League coverage broadcast around the world last season, reaching 1.03 billion homes for all broadcast types.

Given this, it is evident that the Premier League certainly has the reputation and capabilities to send valuable and necessary messages to the world. Most importantly, with Russia and Ukraine in question, transmitting a message of solidarity against Russia to their some 12 to 18 million Premier League followers would be monumental.

So, what is currently being done by clubs across the Premier League to show their support? Multiple examples include: –

  • Leeds United – perimeter advertising boards displaying messages of support for Ukraine
  • Manchester United and Watford players as well as United interim manager Ralf Rangnick lined up with a banner calling for peace in Ukraine
  • Aston Villa’s Matty Cash celebrated scoring at Brighton by displaying a message on his undershirt in support of his Poland team-mate Tomasz Kedziora who is in Ukraine – he received a yellow card for his actions alas causing controversy
  • At the American Express Community Stadium Brighton fans held up a Ukrainian flag and signs to show their solidarity with the country
  • The LED screen at Selhurst Park displayed a message of support before the match between Crystal Palace and Burnley
  • Manchester City players walked out for the match at Goodison with T-shirts calling for an end to the war in Ukraine
  • Everton players lined up ahead of the match with Manchester City draped with Ukrainian flags
  • West Ham display a message of support to Andriy Yarmolenko and the people of Ukraine on the screen outside the London Stadium before the match
  • The colours of the Ukrainian flag are displayed on the LED boards at Turf Moor during Burnley’s match against Leicester City

It is fantastic to see clubs utilising their media platforms to convey such support and let’s hope it continues. This support shouldn’t just stop at the clubs however, the Premier League itself must find innovative ways to help advocate peace.

They have the resources and the capability to fund various projects that can help Ukraine whether this be in financial form, or in general raising awareness of the crisis. Perhaps supplying all of the clubs with Ukrainian flags to give the fans to hold up when the players take the knee or setting up community charitable funds for Ukrainian refugees. There are a multitude of opportunities to help and the Premier League must act to highlight the plight of Ukraine and its people NOW!

Image – Twitter (@defencehqpress)

Alfie Bobbins - Integral Sports Management.

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