What is a Derby Day in Soccer?

Watching a regular soccer match can be super entertaining. However, watching a soccer derby is a whole new level of entertainment for soccer fans around the world. A derby day is a day that all die hard soccer fans wait for. The results of derby matches are usually all over the news the moment they end.

But. What exactly is a derby day in soccer?

A derby day in soccer is the day on which a competition between two local rival soccer clubs is held. Derby match days are considered the most important matches in most of the soccer leagues around the world. They are also the most hyped days during each league season.

In other words, the term “Derby” is usually used to refer to a match between 2 big soccer clubs from the same city, however many use the term to also describe big soccer matches between soccer teams that are from the same country (i.e. local teams).

So, competitions between soccer clubs that are from different countries are usually not considered derbies even if both clubs competing are some of the top soccer clubs in the world.

Usually for a game to be considered a derby in soccer, these 3 conditions should be met:

  • The 2 competing teams are located in the same local area or in the same country.
  • Both teams are good competitors and have a decent soccer history.
  • There is some form of rivalry between the 2 soccer clubs and their fans.

For example, a match between Manchester City and Manchester United can be considered a big derby while a match between 2 lower-division soccer clubs from the same city isn’t considered a well known derby since the competing teams aren’t big enough.

For those who don’t know, a lower-division soccer club is a club that competes in the leagues other than the main country league. Usually the lower-division soccer club’s main goal is to move up the ladder and reach the first division soccer league (the main league in a country). You can learn much more details about soccer leagues in this article if you want.

How important are derby matches in soccer?

Derby matches are extremely important in many aspects when it comes to soccer. They are the most important matches for soccer clubs, for TV broadcasters and for the fans.

Why are derbies usually the most important matches for soccer clubs?

1- Derbies might determine the winner of the whole league season.

If you don’t already know, the local country leagues in soccer are usually points based, which means that the winner of the whole soccer season is the team that has the most number of points at the end of the season.

However, it’s not very rare that 2 soccer leagues end up having the same number of points at the end of the season.

In case of a tie at the end of the season, some soccer leagues use the matches between the 2 rivals as a factor to determine the winner of the league and these matches are usually considered derby matches since they’re local competitions between 2 of the top soccer clubs in the country.

In other words, the derby matches can determine the winners of the whole league competition.

2- Derby points are worth a lot.

If the top two soccer clubs are competing for the first position in their league table, then a match between these 2 clubs is extremely valuable to both teams.

Let’s say that team A is in the lead with 60 points while their rival team B has 57 points in the league table. This means that if team A wins the derby match, they’ll distance themselves from their rival and they’ll have a higher chance of winning the competition. The same goes for team B. If team B wins the match, then they restore their chances of winning the league.

In other words, the points won during a derby match are extremely valuable to the competing teams and these points have a great influence over the whole competition race.

3- Winning a derby match boosts the winner’s confidence.

Mental toughness is super important for any athlete and not just for soccer players. Usually, soccer clubs with better mental toughness have higher chances of winning a game against less motivated soccer teams.

One thing that boosts the mental toughness of a big soccer team is winning a match against their rivals.

Winning on a derby day is also extremely important for new soccer managers and for soccer managers that weren’t doing well in the past games.

A derby match might sometimes literally decide whether a manager stays at a club or gets kicked out. There have been a number of managers in soccer who were kicked out after their teams performed poorly during a derby match day.

A soccer club will definitely not kick their manager out if they lose one derby game, but if the manager has been performing bad in a number of matches, then a derby match can be their final chance to make things right or else they are told to pack their things and leave.

These are the main reasons why a derby day is one of the most important days of a big soccer team, but what about the fans and the TV broadcasters?

Why are derbies usually the most important matches for tv broadcasters and for the fans?

For the TV broadcasters, a derby day is a money day. Millions of soccer fans around the world gather around TVs to watch a derby match.

Usually, TV broadcasters will be marketing the game on their TV channels as much as they can before the match day. Some also keep a countdown on their screens days before the derby match takes place.

But why do they do that? Simply because the ads that they display before, during, and after the derby match are worth A LOT of money.

Large corporations around the world are willing to pay a lot to place an ad on TV during the halftime of a derby match.

A derby match between Real Madrid and Barcelona (also known as El Clásico) for example gets around 75 million views around the world according to this source.

Other sources claim that El Clásico is viewed by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Keep in mind that the El Clásico takes place at least twice a year. Some years might include more than 4 matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid too.

These numbers are great for any TV broadcaster and that’s why the biggest derbies in soccer are considered a gold mine by TV broadcasters.

A derby match is also long awaited by soccer fans around the world. Soccer fans love the rivalry between their club and the opponent club. You’ll see the fans of rival soccer clubs posting millions of debates, questions, photos and so much more about the derby match.

Since derbies are more competitive than other regular soccer games, the level of entertainment that soccer fans get out of these matches is great.

If you are new to soccer, then you should definitely watch a derby match to have so much fun and to truly feel the excitement that millions of soccer fans around the world feel during a big soccer match.

What are the biggest derbies in soccer?

I’d like to end this article by stating some of the biggest soccer derbies that soccer fans look forward to every year. These derbies are in no particular order.

1- Barcelona vs Real Madrid (El Clásico)

A derby match between 2 of the biggest soccer clubs around the world. This derby is viewed by millions of soccer fans around the world every year.

2- The Milan Derby

The Milan Derby is a match between the 2 giants AC Milan and Inter Milan. A decade ago, these 2 teams were dominating the Italian soccer league. However, both teams declined during the last few years.

Though in 2021, both teams are doing exceptionally well, and the derby match between these 2 Italian giants is restoring the hype that it used to get a few years ago.

3- Manchester City vs Manchester United

Both teams are located in Manchester City, and a match between these 2 clubs is one of the biggest derbies in the Premier League.

During the last few years Manchester United weren’t performing as well as they used to in their prime years. However, They are performing well during the 2021 season and they’re coming back as one of the top league competitors.

More great soccer derbies around the world:

  • Everton vs Liverpool
  • Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
  • Barcelona vs Espanyol
  • Borussia Dortmund vs FC Bayern Munich
  • Arsenal vs Tottenham

And there are so much more, but I’ll stick to these for now.

With that said, I’ll conclude my article with a quick summary

A derby in soccer is a match held between 2 local rival clubs. Usually, derby matches are very hyped and they generate a lot of money for TV broadcasters. Derby matches are also very important for the competing clubs because they have a great influence on the final results of the whole league competition.