After a hiatus that has felt like an eternity, Premier League football will return this week – much to the delight of fans across the world.
While football as we know it has been altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, top flights in Germany, Italy and Spain have returned to competitive action.
One thing that has taken time to adjust to is the added physical distancing measures around the games and the lack of fans.
With plenty of games to still play and not a lot of time to play them in, the Premier League has an action-packed schedule of fixtures to conclude the 2019-20 season.
However, with health concerns still prominent in England and government regulations in place, the prospect of supporters re-entering stadia is not something likely to happen any time soon.
Given the lack of an opportunity to watch the game in person and the fixture schedule being catered for at-home audiences, plenty of fans will use live streaming to watch their favourite teams.
While a lot of the fixtures will be shown on television, the Premier League’s varying media partners across the globe means that not everyone has the option to watch.
However, online streaming services have improved dramatically in recent years and means that the global football audience can get their fix easily and at low cost.
One of the major outcomes of the pandemic has been a different way of society functioning, with online meetings and working from home the norm in plenty of countries.
As such, with the growing dependence on technology and the newfound natural reaction to stay safe, it seems fitting that online streaming of sport will become a staple of audience consumption moving forward.
While not having fans at the grounds is somewhat alien, there have been some excellent games so far on the continent for supporters to enjoy from distance.
Premier League fans will take time to adjust to the new norm but the prospect of top-flight English football returning is a hugely exciting one.
It certainly seems like a formality that Liverpool will be crowned English champions for 2019-20, with the Reds only needing a few more wins to find themselves in an unassailable position.
However, there is plenty left to play for outwith this, as the race for Champions League qualification and the relegation battle are set to go right down to the wire.
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