Inter never play Serie A fixtures on Sunday afternoon anymore: Why is this the case?

Those with a keen eye on the Serie A fixture list may have noticed that you never see Inter play on a Sunday afternoon, and that is set to continue into the 2023/24 season. But why don't the Nerazzurri play in the traditional slot?

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For over two-and-a-half years, Inter have gone without playing a Serie A match on a Sunday afternoon, which was the traditional time slot for Italian top-flight football matches for many years.

It was commonplace for decades for Serie A matches to start at 15:00 local time on a Sunday, but in an ever-changing world, more games are starting at various times to gain more viewers on television and in the stands. To also make things easier for players, teams will play their Serie A fixtures before that time slot so they have enough time to recuperate before playing in one of the European competitions.

According to La Repubblica, Inter are one of the most watched teams on television and the Lega Serie A has decided that the Nerazzurri will not play any matches on a Sunday afternoon until January next year.

Broadcasters play decisive role in Inter scheduling

Inter along with AC Milan, Juventus, and Napoli have extensive fan bases so broadcasters want to maximise their viewership by attracting supporters from those clubs. The 15:00 time slot on Sunday is one of the few in which multiple Serie A fixtures are played and broadcasters do not want to lose viewers because of it. For those in the United Kingdom, it is like the Saturday 15:00 slot where anywhere from three to six Premier League games will be played at once, as well as almost everything in the lower leagues.

Streaming service DAZN has the rights to all of the Serie A matches, and three matches are also shown on the satellite television service Sky Italia. Whenever Napoli or the big three Italian clubs play on Sunday, the broadcasters prefer them to play at 12:30 local time so the viewers are focused on those clubs and not worrying about watching another match.

Due to this, Lega Serie A has decided to schedule the matches like this, leaving the 15:00 CET games on Sundays to the provincial clubs.

Champions League fixtures are another determining factor for Inter

Lautaro Martinez of Inter against AC Milan in the Champions League. (@Inter)

Inter have participated in the Champions League since 2018/19, which Lega Serie A have taken into consideration, and the Nerazzurri often do not play on a Sunday afternoon because of this.

For instance, the Biscione will play Bologna on October 7 at 15:00 CEST, but that fixture is on a Saturday so the ratings will still be high, and more money can be earned from TV rights. This also allows the players more time to rest regardless of if they play in Europe on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening.

Italian football purists lament the changes to Italy’s football traditions, but huge fixture loads on clubs and television rights have caused the shift away from watching a Serie A match at 15:00 on a Sunday in this day and age, at least for the really big teams.

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