Boxing Day, a secular Holiday that takes place the day after Christmas traditionally celebrated in the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth’s is not just for Britons anymore. Many Americans are also turning their eyes to December 26th and not for a “Christmas Box” that is given to those in public service (postmen and the like) for a job well done during the year. No, the United States the most sports hungry country in the world has caught on to Premier League football and most importantly the football that is held on Boxing Day.
The beginnings of football on Boxing Day can be traced back to 1860 when Sheffield FC and Hallam FC played a match that was won 2-0 by Sheffield. The presence of football on Boxing Day was further cemented in 1888 when Preston North End defeated Derby County 5-0 in the first season of the Football League. From 1888 to 1957 football was featured on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day and the 1957/58 season was the last one to feature a complete set of league fixtures on Christmas Day. The last English League match that was played on Christmas Day took place in 1965 that saw Blackpool defeat Blackburn 4-2. From then on Boxing Day has stolen the show with a full set of fixtures taking place almost every year since.
As I get older Christmas becomes less and less something that I look forward to. This is due in part to the commercialized version of Christmas in our modern society is aimed at children and unfortunately for me I am an adult who has to pay the bills and the like (doh!). Like most people I enjoy spending time with my extended family, exchanging gifts and gorging out on ham or turkey but that’s all secondary now. The real Christmas time attraction that I look forward to and circle the calendar for, is the hours of football I can enjoy on Boxing Day. There’s nothing better than waking up early on December 26th with the anticipation of 10 EPL matches on the same day. NBC Sports is set to cash in with wall to wall coverage of the football with a mixture of live games, highlight shows and match replays for the majority of the day on the network.
We really are spoiled as a country to have the access we do because not even in England will they have the opportunity to watch as much Premier League football on Boxing Day as us Americans will. It will be interesting to see how the TV ratings shake out, they will most certainly beat out MLS (low hanging fruit, I know) and if it is widely successful NBC may be well on their way to helping establish Boxing Day as a new American Tradition.
2015 Boxing Day Fixtures
|December 26, 2015|
|Stoke City||12:45 PM||Manchester United|
|Swansea City||3:00 PM||West Bromwich Albion|
|Aston Villa||3:00 PM||West Ham United|
|Liverpool||3:00 PM||Leicester City|
|AFC Bournemouth||3:00 PM||Crystal Palace|
|Tottenham Hotspur||3:00 PM||Norwich City|
|Manchester City||3:00 PM||Sunderland|
|Newcastle United||5:30 PM||Everton|
All Times GMT