Mansfield Town have announced that their forthcoming home match against Walsall has been brought forward by two hours due to the growing strain of rising energy bills.
The Stags are set to welcome The Saddlers to the One Call Stadium on Saturday 15th October and they have agreed to bring the start time for the match forward from the traditional 3pm slot to 1pm as football starts to suffer the effects of the energy and cost of living crisis.
A club statement detailing the switch read: “The match was originally scheduled to get underway at 3pm. The club is endeavouring to mitigate the forthcoming, considerable increase in energy bills.
“As part of these efforts, the earlier kick-off time will enable the club to discern whether significant savings can be made on floodlight usage and other energy costs. Moreover, following the trial of this change in kick-off time, the club will be able to better determine whether an earlier kick-off on a Saturday would have an effect on prospective attendances.”
Their Walsall meeting comes just over two weeks before clocks in the UK go back an hour for daylight savings. This will see days get darker much quicker, meaning prime time 3pm Saturday kick-offs until March will all end under lights. Sunsets typically occur around 4pm for the majority of the winter, which makes the use of floodlights at football matches essential. However, the cost of floodlighting is currently up by an astonishing 200 per cent due to rising energy bills, leaving EFL clubs with big decisions to make ahead of a challenging period.
The move from Mansfield comes just a few weeks after Bradford City CEO Ryan Sparks made initial comments promoting the idea of 1pm kick-offs in the winter to save on costs.
"We are already taking measures to reduce our impact on the environment but also not to further reduce our energy usage, such as the use of solar power," Sparks told The Sunday People. "There is a suggestion within the game that we could move kick-off times in the winter months to 1pm on a Saturday and that’s something we would consider.
"Floodlights are expensive to run and when you add that up over the best part of 20 to 30 home games the costs are heavy, and that’s only one area of energy demand."