The Decline Of Television And The Decline Of The FA Cup

Confirmation of the live televised matches for the Third Round of the FA Cup came early this year, and while there was no great shock in the Manchester derby – a match which has, arguably, taken on a heightened level of importance given the events in the Champions League last night, even if it still isn’t the main even of either teams season – it was a little surprising to see that the decisions were taken by both ITV and ESPN before next weeks Second Round replays had even been played. And there may, whether surprisingly or not, be one or two smaller clubs looking at the matches chosen and wondering how they managed to fail to make the grade. A total of five matches will be shown live on the television by the two broadcasters over the course of the first full weekend of the new year. ITV will show the matches between Manchester United & Manchester City and Peterborough United & Sunderland on Sunday the 8th January,  while ESPN will show the matches between Birmingham City & Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bristol Rovers & Aston Villa on the Saturday, as well as the match between Arsenal & Leeds United on the Monday evening. It is difficult to envisage the circumstances under which the Manchester derby would not have been selected for live television coverage, even if this is a match that some may feel doesn’t rank...

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