Champions League early kick-off times: What, when & why they've changed

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Real Madrid Champions League trophy 2018
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Starting this season, the Champions League will kick-off at two different times in the evening beginning in the group stage

The 7:45pm Champions League kick-off time in the UK has become a bit of a tradition, but UEFA have implemented different start times for the European competition beginning this season.

Starting with the current campaign, the 7:45pm kick-off is to be scrapped in favour of two kick-off times – one late and one early – to accommodate for a wider selection of Champions League games for fans to enjoy.

So why are UEFA deciding to alter the match schedule, and why have they decided to go with two new times? Goal has all the information.

What are the new Champions League kick-off times?

A slew of changes to the Champions League will be taken into effect this current season, starting with two new kick-off times.

Champions League matches currently kick off at 7:45pm (BST), with the exception of matches played in certain countries like Russia.

UEFA, however, have announced that starting with this season, there will be two kick-off times to resemble the format currently being used by the Europa League.

So instead of all games kicking off simultaneously at 7:45pm, there will be games starting at two different times – the first two games will start at 6pm with the rest of the fixtures kicking off at 8pm, so viewers have more of a choice between Champions League matches.

Throughout the group stage of the competition, two matches per evening will be played in the early slot with the rest of the six games to be played at 8pm.

These rules will be set in motion until the end of the 2020-21 season, after which UEFA will conduct a review of the regulations.

Why are new kick-off times introduced?

Champions League logo

UEFA have introduced these new measures in order to boost international viewing figures for their matches, increasing revenue due to more games being broadcast on television.

While this will evidently increase ratings for the competition worldwide, it will prove unpopular with European-based fans keen on getting home from work in time to watch the Champions League on television by the unruly hour of 6pm.

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Viewers based in Australia and Asia will be able to catch their team play at the more favourable time of 1am when the matches kick off at 6pm as opposed to 3am for the later games.

The varied kick-off times are also a positive following the exciting group stage fixtures already in store in the Champions League this season, with there being more than one 'Group of Death'.

Two kick-off times means that more matches will be televised, though, as stated earlier, the 6pm kick-offs may become logistically difficult for European fans keen to arrive home on time.