What kind of time is the Copa América on, then?

As with all tournaments that garner international interest, fans around the world will be checking kick-off times and working out time differences to see which, if any, matches of the upcoming Copa América fall at convenient times to watch. Below is a visual guide for working out what time of day games, that take place in Argentina (UTC-3), will be kicking-off around the world’s time zones. You can have an idea what part of the day the matches will be where you live and see how convenient the timings are for the world as a whole.

Here’s the colour key I have used. Black zones and purple zones show times when sleep and work respectively will get in the way of watching the tournament. The ideal times for tuning in – the golden hours – are considered to be weekday evenings and most of the weekends, and are coloured yellow. Shades in between yellow and black or purple represent semi-convenient times. Basically: the yellower the better.

How relevant these divisions are for you personally will obviously depend on your work hours, how much sleep you need and how late you are allowed to stay up by your parents/spouse/warden.

For ease of calculation and so that they will fit on four maps, times have been rounded and grouped thusly (local times, UTC-3):

Weekday matches
Early Evening: 7:15 rounded to 7pm (5 matches)
Late Evening: 9:45 rounded to 10pm (9 matches)

Weekend matches
Afternoon: 3:30 and 4:00 grouped as 4pm (8 matches, including final)
Early Evening: 6:30 and 7:15 grouped as 7pm (4 matches)

As such you shouldn’t read off times from the map in order to work out exactly when a match will kick-off in your time zone. The maps are intended to give a rough idea of what time of day the matches fall around the world and not to help you form an accurate viewing schedule.


Early Evening Kick-Off ≈ 7pm
The weekday early evening kick-offs work out nicely in that most of the workday falls on the sparsely populated Pacific – however a big chunk of the golden hours are wasted on the Atlantic. Those in the west and centre of the Americas, including Costa Rica and Mexico, will have to hurry home from work to see these matches (although only one of these teams’ own group matches is played at this time: Bolivia v Costa Rica).

Late Evening Kick-Off ≈ 10pm
The golden hours fall neatly on the Americas but the inconvenient times land squarely on Eurasia and Africa. Europe and Africa will be tucked up in bed during these matches and East Asia will be busy at work. I wonder how many of India’s billion people will take the opportunity to get up early to squeeze in Peru v Mexico before work? Most of them, I imagine.


Afternoon Kick-Off ≈ 4pm
The Americas, Europe and Africa are all sitting pretty for the weekend afternoon matches, which includes the final. Had Japan not withdrawn there would have been many late nights required to tune-in as East Asia comes off poorly again.

Early Evening Kick-Off ≈ 7pm
Nighttime shifts west as Central and Southern Asia miss out for these games. Some Europeans and Africans may have to stay up past their regular bedtime.

I assume FIFA performs a similar analysis when scheduling World Cup matches – only theirs would be much cleverer with countries weighted by audience size for different kick-off times to optimise the value of the TV rights (you may be puzzled at the mention of FIFA and cleverer in the same sentence, but I’m sure they can be very clever when they want to be; when revenue maximisation is involved, for example).

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