LaLiga: Why Real Madrid vs Barcelona El Clasico clash kicks off 12pm GMT on Saturday

Saturday’s early kick-off for Real Madrid vs Barcelona, is down to LaLiga’s drive to build its audience in Asia.

El Clasico is scheduled for 1pm local time and midday GMT.

But more importantly for the Spanish top flight, kick-off in countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia is 7pm local time.

In contrast, last season’s Clasico on April 23 started at 2.45am in the two countries.

“La Liga is a global entertainment spectacle, last year 2.6 billion people around the world were following La Liga and many of those are in Asia,” the league’s head of global communications Joris Evers said.

“We are keen to give them the opportunity to watch the Clasico without needing to stay up until the middle of the night or set an alarm to wake up very early.”

The decision has been criticized by Barcelona supporters group, Seguiment FCB.

“It is very clear to us that football is undergoing a process of globalisation which benefits clubs economically but forgets about the loyal supporters who go to stadiums.

“The television market has been prioritised with a kickoff time that favours people in faraway places who want to watch it but harms fans who have to travel 600km (from Barcelona to the Spanish capital) to the game are obliged to wake at the crack of dawn to get there on time,” the group’s chairman Carles Ordiales said.