World Cup Drama Should Pay Dividends for Premier League in 2018/19
By general consensus, it has so far been one of the best World Cups in history, with a much-enticipated semi final and final yet to come. There have, of course, been a few downsides: The ineffectiveness of Spain and Germany will have disappointed some. It is also a shame that no African side made it to the knockout phases, despite Senegal, Morocco and Nigeria all impressing at certain points of the competition. But, overall, there has been a magical quality to this World Cup, something that has caught the imagination of fans all over the world.
Undoubtedly, there will be a come-down after events have wrapped up in the Luzhniki Stadium on 15thJuly, but you can bank on the fact that a whole new generation of football fans will be born out of the events in Russia. At the moment, there is no better league to capitalise on that fact than the Premier League. It is already, by a considerable distance, the most watched sports league in the world and has a hierarchy adept at marketing the league as a product.
EPL viewing figures ticking up again
There are, most certainly, challenges facing the Premier League. Global viewing figures had dipped a couple of years ago, although there was some recovery last season. There are other dangers too, perhaps most notably the threat of Manchester City making it a one team league in the same vein as the Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga or Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1. All major bookmakers have put them as odds-on favourites to win the title again after they collected 100 points last season, with Betway and others offering a price of 8/13.
While the likes of Liverpool (5/1) and Manchester United (13/2) will likely strengthen their squads before the transfer window shuts, it is by no means guaranteed there will be a competitive title race this season. Of course, part of the attraction of the Premier League is that it is so unpredictable, so there is every chance the bookies have under-priced City and overpriced their rivals, with Chelsea (20/1) and Spurs (16/1) looking attractive at big odds.
Amazon deal shows allure of English football
While we are not sure how the title race will pan out, we do know that the money seems to keep pouring into the Premier League. The big news in the last couple of months was that retail giant Amazon has now bought rights to show a clutch of Premier League games. You will need to sign up and pay for a Prime account, but there are plenty of other options to watch live streaming football for free online.
Regardless of how you end up watching the Premier League, you can be fairly sure that the league will be seen to have improved in terms of star players by the time the season kicks off on 11thJune. Money talks in football, and you could see the breakout stars of the World Cup packing their bags and heading off to England for the new season. Manuel Akanji (Switzerland), Hirving Lozano (Mexico), Aleksandr Golovin (Russia) and André Carrillo (Peru) have been among the best performers at the World Cup. It would be surprising if one or more did not end up in the Premier League by mid-August.
That sense of renewal, capitalising on the excitement around the World Cup and plundering its best players will ensure that the Premier League re-establishes its dominance once the lights have dimmed on the stadiums of Russia.