Sky kick-off time hits Portsmouth travelling numbers for Sunderland game at Stadium of Light
Pompey’s third Stadium of Light trip in three-and-a-half months will attract their lowest away following.
Yet the 12.30pm kick-off dictated by Sky is chiefly responsible for the dip in travelling numbers.
Kenny Jackett’s side head to the north-east on Saturday for their third match of the League One campaign.
Overall, it provides a fifth encounter with Jack Ross’ side in the Blues’ past 14 matches in all competitions.
And, ahead of the latest occasion, Pompey followers have taken up 800 of their 2,000 allocation.
It represents a sizeable drop when compared with both of last season’s trips, when away numbers reached four figures.
The fall is not surprising, however, with the early kick-off for television purposes restricting those Blues supporters considering attending.
With a 669-mile round-trip scheduled to total 11-and-a-half hours, the 12.30pm start rules out a vast majority of south-coast travellers.
Understandably, that has hit the take-up of match-day tickets, amid an allocation already reduced following last season’s smoke bomb controversy.
When the teams met at the Stadium of Light in April, the Blues’ away crowd was an impressive 3,222 in an overall attendance of 41,129.
They again locked horns in the north-east just a fortnight later in the League One play-off semi-final first-leg, this time served with a 7.30pm kick-off.
On that occasion, away numbers were 1,288 in a total crowd of 26,610.
Now the familiar foes must do battle once more, this time on Saturday.
The Black Cats are without a League One win following their opening two matches, with draws against Oxford United and Ipswich.