Now, before you all boo and hiss and scream about how the All-Star game is a money-hungry American concept designed to further commercialise sport and all that we believe to be pure and holy, let me say this: I completely agree. According to the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center, the overall economic impact of the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans was around $106.1 million, which isn’t even that surprising if you take into account the fact that this year, a ticket to the all-star game could cost you around $1,200.
So yes, an All-Star game ticket may cost you most of your student loan, but even if All-Star games are money-making schemes from hell, they’re justified
by their entertainment value. Take last weekend for instance, when the NBA hosted its All-Star Weekend in Toronto – forget the other events such as the Slam Dunk Contest or the three-point Shootout; the record-shattering 196-173 score-line for the game itself, in which the best talents the NBA has to offer forgot about defense and basically re-enacted Space Jam, was enough to justify the weekend’s very existence.
And that’s honestly why we need an All-Star Game for the Premier League – because it would be an incredible amount of fun for the fans, who one could argue are just as stressed throughout the season as the players. If you don’t believe me, go watch a Spurs game with my co-editor and see for yourself the strenuous impact a team can have on one’s life.
However, if you need more convincing, I’ve got a whole lot more reasons why the match needs to happen.
1. It wouldn’t even be that difficult to set up. All you need is an extra week’s gap between week 19 and 20, and the FA to pick a stadium for the match to be played in. The choosing of the teams will be fan-dominated – every fan who chooses to vote gets to select his or her Dream XI from both sides, and players with the most votes will qualify, whilst the Premier League coaches pick the bench.
2. Have you ever played FIFA with your mate where you both pick your favourite clash of titans? This game would be just that, except it would happen in real life. Obviously, the game’s intensity will vary – at times the players would just go out and have some fun – but these footballers are competitors, and when it gets close, I’m sure that someone like Koscielny will be out there trying to dominate and break some legs and egos during the process.
3. This brings me to another reason – fans’ voices matter. Every year, when the FA picks its Team of the Year, you hear fans complain about a snub and the whole legitimacy of the team is questioned just because it doesn’t really take the fans’ consideration into account. Being picked as an All Star would be an honour. Yes, sure, the fans would obviously get it wrong from time to time, but if sport, and football in particular, is supposed to represent our ideals for society, then it damn well should be democratic.
4. The game might just be worth having just to see ArseÌ€ne Wenger and Louis van Gaal become internet memes by busting a vein complaining about how the FA is endangering their players’ health.
5. The sides ideally would be geographical – if we draw a hypothetical line below Stoke and Leicester but above Swansea and Norwich, you actually get an even division of teams between North and South, with Liverpool and Manchester-based teams headlining the North and the London Premier League squadron representing the South side. Would you not pay to watch Vardy, Mahrez and AguÌˆero take on Fonte, Koscielny, Azpilicueta and BelleriÌn?
I certainly would. At the end of the day, All-Star games are just a bit of fun and a way for the league to show the fans some love, which is exactly why the Premier League needs to have one, and have soon