Spaniards come home for football - six nights a week
Monday 26 August 1996
When the season opens next Sunday, millions of Spaniards will stay at home, glued to their sets every night of the week except Friday, leaving city-centres, bars and cinemas, that would otherwise be vibrant, deserted.
The television channels are delighted at the huge business brought in by soaring viewing figures, calculated at 28 per cent of gross domestic product. So are the football clubs, whose entire budgets are covered by the sums paid by television companies for broadcasting rights.
The deal is a carve-up between the private channel Antenna Tres and the two state channels, who will show nine matches a week from the Spanish league and Europe, ensuring that schedules do not clash.
But the mighty National Association of Restaurants, Cafes and Bars fears its livelihood will suffer a "mortal blow" and threatens reprisals. The association's leader, Ignacio Cabello, warned that the deal will cost its members pounds 850m a year in lost trade and could cut jobs in the sector by 30 per cent.
His 800,000 members plan counter-measures, ranging from a boycott of products advertised during televised matches to all-out strikes. The addition of Monday, hitherto a football-free evening, will alone result in pounds 300m being stripped from restaurants' takings, he said.
Mr Cabello even issued an appeal that could rend the fabric of that most precious Spanish institution, the family, by urging women to abandon their husbands on Saturday nights and venture out alone.
Following protests last year, the television companies agreed - grudgingly - to bring the Saturday broadcast forward to 8.30pm, enabling fans to go out after the match. But it made little difference to the slump in trade on what ought to be the week's busiest night.
As it is, non-football fans in Madrid appreciate the opportunity to cruise the tapas bars in comfort, enjoy uncrowded cinemas, and drive unhindered up the Gran Via - until 11.30, when the match is over and the bars are packed once more.
When it comes to promoting equality of the sexes, we tend to think that we’ve come a long way in the past 40 years.
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants slaughter 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
That Sugar Film director Damon Gameua receives shocking diagnosis after going on healthy sugar diet for just 60 days
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...