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Defending Premier League champions Chelsea not big enough ticket for Sky on Matchday 1

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Lost amid the Lukaku shuffle yesterday, the first batch of televised fixtures on Sky Sports and BT Sport were released by the Premier League. These include the first seven matchdays, through the end of September, with Chelsea featuring a surprisingly low three times only.

That means that 4 of the first 7 games currently scheduled will be played at the traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off time — a boon for the local match-going fan, less so for non-local fans in the UK who are thus stuck with radio or illegal streaming — including Chelsea’s first match of the season at home versus Burnley. Oddly, this is the first time in almost a decade and a half that the defending champions will not be on television in the UK to start the new season.

Here’s how the first seven rounds are shaping up for Chelsea right now (all times BST), before any further adjustments are made for potential Champions League matches (Chelsea will have group games on September 12/13 and 26/27).

MD1: Saturday, August 12, 3pm: vs. Burnley
MD2: Sunday, August 20, 4pm: @ Spurs (TV: Sky Sports)
MD3: Saturday, August 26, 3pm: vs. Everton
MD4: Saturday, September 9, 3pm: @ Leicester City
MD5: Sunday, September 17, 1:30pm: vs. Arsenal (TV: Sky Sports)
MD6: Saturday, September 23, 3pm: @ Stoke City
MD7: Saturday, September 30, 5:30pm: vs. Manchester City (TV: BT Sport)

For fans outside the UK this of course does not apply, most of whom already have access to legal means of watching every Premier League fixture.

That used to include fans in the USA as well, but they will now have a slightly tougher time catching all games this season thanks to NBC Sports’ ill-advised introduction of a streaming pay-package for games not deemed worthy of live broadcast on cable television (but only for those games, not all). This means that at least three Chelsea games will not be on television and will thus cost $50 total instead. That’s a fairly steep price that has to be paid on top of the cable TV subscription and does not work with cord-cutting options like fuboTV, Sling, or DirecTV NOW.