Serie A ‘moves closer’ to Saturday lunchtime kick-off in play for Asian audience

Serie A, the top tier of Italian domestic football, is said to be contemplating the addition of a Saturday lunchtime kick-off time in a bid to appeal to Asian audiences.

New Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino has made internationalisation a core part of his tenure and is said to be keen on bringing forward a Saturday match to 12.30pm (CET) or 1.30pm, reports Corriere della Sera. It is claimed that the addition of the time slot to the 2021-24 media rights invitation to tender is under consideration.

Dal Pino outlined his vision for an international Serie A last late month after being elected as president on January 8.

Dal Pino was reported in Italian media to have said: “We must think of those who watch Italian football abroad [who] need more flexibility. There are many potential partners with whom [we have a] dialogue, it may be necessary to change the current mechanism.”

With Italy seven hours ahead of China, matches currently played on Saturdays at the earliest kick-off slot of 3pm start at 10pm in Beijing. Serie A does already have a 12.30pm kick-off slot on Sundays.

Any changes to Serie A’s schedule would come into effect from the beginning of the 2021-22 season. The tender for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 rights cycle will be launched later this year.

Dal Pino’s consideration echoes moves already made by LaLiga, the governing body for the top-two tiers of Spanish domestic football, which brought kick-offs forward as part of its 2016-17 to 2018-19 tender.