The third round of the FA Cup will take place in the first weekend of January. However, the glamour of the competition has ebbed away with the elite teams in England no longer seeing the trophy as the must-win prize it was in years past.
The FA Cup was appointment viewing between the 1950s and 1990s, but the prominence of the Premier League and the riches it provides has devalued the title.
The top 20 teams in the top flight are either focused on the title, the race for the top four or the battle to remain in the division. It is a sad state of affairs that teams are playing weakened outfits in the FA Cup, devaluing a once proud institution of the English game, even though the leading contenders in the FA Cup betting odds are Manchester City and Liverpool, who are at the top of the Premier League.
It has been noted by the FA and television companies that are broadcasting the matches, with BT Sport making a statement in their advertisements to fans only interested in the Premier League.
It’s 2019, don’t mug off the cup pic.twitter.com/A4ALHqEZiQ
— BT Sport (@btsport) January 1, 2019
However, being blunt with supporters is only one way of getting them interested in the competition once more. There are avenues that both the FA and BT Sport along with the BBC could explore to attempt to re-ignite the passion for the famous old cup.
Change in broadcasting
Amazon launched their Premier League package to much fanfare. They opted to screen several matches at once, offering fans the opportunity to watch the games that they wanted rather than a small selection decided by the broadcaster. Performing the same feat for the FA Cup could see a spike in viewing figures, although the FA and the clubs themselves would have fears about attendance figures.
Given that the matches are in January and after Christmas – supporters may not have the cash to attend the third round. Offering games on the television or streaming services would allow supporters to view and provided advertising opportunities for the broadcaster.
As long as the money is put back towards the clubs in equal measure – it could be a profitable exercise. The magic will still remain for those non-league sides as the novelty of travelling to major grounds will still have an effect for them to travel in numbers.
Mix up the draw
Another idea could be to regionalise the draws for the competition to provide a local angle. There will be enough sides in the draw after the initial two rounds to provide a local flavour. Instead of having to travel the length and breadth of the country to face a team you may have played recently or have no rivalry with – offering a local angle could throw up tantalising fixtures at least for one round of the competition, especially for bitter rivals that have not played each other in a while.
It would be a gamble to rip up the randomness of the draw, but something needs to be done to revitalise a competition that is stagnating in its current state. It would be tragic to see a great institution of the English game fall further into insignificance, which could even leave it exposed to the pitfalls of eventual cancellation should the elite teams continue to ignore its value.
Join the discussion on this topic with Ad Verve Blog by visiting our contact page.