To everyone who loves to watch football games, the whole 90-minute match seems like it’s happening in the blink of an eye. Or not? Maybe for some fans or spectators, matches seem to last longer than they actually do or do last longer than expected, at least in their perception.
When we buy our ticket to go watch a match or even when we sit in front of the TV to watch it, we want all the action to unfold before our eyes. We want to be thrilled the entire time the match is on, and we long for getting all the pleasure from watching a good, quality football game. Of course, it is not only about watching good football. We also expect our favorite club to win – and win big, especially if we have placed a wager with a bookmaker or have betted on one of the sites offering apuestas deportivas internacionales.
But the only thing that is certain is that we don’t want time to be wasted during a football match. But the reality is that we almost never get to see the whole 90 minutes of regular time of a match, being actually with the ball-in-play. In fact, the 90 minutes are not equal in all matches and they certainly don’t seem equal to all fans.
We are not talking about the extra time added at the end of the regular time to cover for the officially recognised delays, even though this added time has frequently been the game changer – where many clubs have made their upset, writing their fate or even simply marking their victory and getting every fan on their feet. This added time is very important and you get to see that if you notice that sportsbooks – all of them, local or casas de apuestas extranjeras, more traditional or more innovative and more advanced like the ones accepting cryptos – adjust or change odds based on that time.
But this doesn’t have to do with the fact that the 90 minutes aren’t equal. If you watch a top tier league, whether the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the French Ligue 1, the Italian Serie A or the German Bundesliga, you will realize that the ball-in-play time is different in each case – on average speaking.
The French top league gives more of a spectacle and more excitement to fans, since the clubs play actual football more compared to other leagues. The ball-in-play time in Ligue 1 accounts on average for the 58.1% of the whole game, while their other European counterparts appear to have lower ball-in-play time – in the EPL for example, you get to see 55.8% of the match time actual football played by the opposite sides, whereas in La Liga this falls down to 54.6%! Bundesliga and Serie A are in the middle with nearly 56%.
But the real difference in terms of actual football being played is to be found as one goes down the tiers. Lower leagues are generally offering less spectacle to the fans, since they do feature much less ball-in-play time. In the EFL, if we go down the leagues we will see that there are far more stoppages, there is far greater delay and the clubs are generally wasting more and more time, in their effort to conserve an already conservative football style.
So, when in the EPL, we as fans get to watch pure football being played for almost 55 minutes out of the whole match, in lower leagues we get to lose some of the action. The further we go down, the less the ball-in-play time. And what does this mean? It means that we don’t receive the full pleasure of a consistent and whole match, but a smaller and smaller fraction of a game.
It sounds as if the minutes count makes no difference if we are watching unique and exceptional football. As if the richness is not in the quantity but in the quality. And in fact this is the case, but when there is also less time for the actual game, then there are less opportunities to develop and advance a good game.
Simply put, if clubs spend less time playing, then how is it possible to have more of the unique moments in the game? Or how can they put on an incredible performance that will compensate for the less in-play time?