TELEVISION executives have rewarded Everton for their exciting form towards the end of the last season.Well, sort of. David Moyes’ men kick-off the new season at home to Manchester United on August 20 as Sky host the first ‘Monday Night Football’ show of the campaign from Goodison.
By the end of November, the Blues will have featured on the platform five times with games against Newcastle United, Swansea City, Queens Park Rangers and the opening derby of the season at home.
Privately, the Blues are particularly pleased with that return but are scratching their heads over the shut-out from ESPN.
Everton acknowledge that there are some enticing fixtures at the turn of the year which may interest the Disney-owned channel but with no game scheduled yet, they have been bracketed in a less than illustrious group.
The Blues are in the club with six other sides who finished below them last season.
Fulham, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Wigan Athletic were all behind Moyes’ men in the standings whilst Reading and Southampton were playing in the Championship.
All six are without ESPN coverage so far as well.
The last time Everton appeared on the platform in the league, Nikica Jelavic plundered the only goal of the game in an absorbing spectacle with Tottenham Hotspur in March.
Harry Redknapp had been thrust into the England spotlight, Jelavic made his home debut and Everton manfully held on in an enthralling early evening game.
ESPN, in their defence, have to be selective given their allocation of only 23 games this season but there were some furrowed brows when the first batch of live games were announced this week.
It is understood ESPN see stronger ‘storylines’ in other fixtures from August to the end of November and that there is no agenda against the club, but surely Everton are always value for money?
Surely they almost always test, push and challenge the very best in the league?
It is the way Moyes’ team has been for a long time.
The second round of television fixtures will be announced in late October where December and the rest of the festive period is covered.
Everton face the champions Manchester City, Spurs, West Ham United and Chelsea in the final month of the calendar year and must hope ESPN come calling.
For the travelling fans, television can throw up inconvenient kick-off times but with £500,000 on offer for each live game, the more telly the better for the Blues.
Last season’s return of just nine games was tough to take but the hope was their form in March, April and May would convince TV chiefs to point their cameras on Everton. Hopefully ESPN will do so.