Boxing Day in the Premier League explained: What is the history? What is it all about?


It is time for the most wonderful day of the year in the Premier League: Boxing Day.

December 26th has a long tradition of being intertwined with soccer in the United Kingdom and with the Premier League games coming thick and fast over the next week, Boxing Day is the marquee day in the festive fixtures.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

But what is Boxing Day? What does it all mean?

For a bit of a Boxing Day history lesson, plus our thoughts on the madness, here it goes:

What is Boxing Day all about?

  • It always falls on December 26 each year
  • As for the Boxing Day history: in the UK it has been a national holiday since 1871.
  • In the Victorian era Christmas gift boxes were handed out to staff from their employers as they were thanked for their work throughout the year. (They also were given the day off.)
  • Since 1958 Boxing Day has been the main festive day which soccer has been played on throughout the leagues in the UK.

Not that kind of boxing

Just to make it clear, there is no Boxing on Boxing Day. Well, there probably is somewhere if Christmas Day with the family didn’t go as planned. Anyway…

Boxing Day is dominated by soccer, horse racing, cricket and plenty of other sports in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. But mostly soccer.

In the UK games take place at all levels of soccer, and Boxing Day is synonymous with soccer.

Quite simply, it is a day for families to get together, go to games, cheer on their teams and extend the festive season. It is Christmas Day Part II.

What is coming up on Boxing Day in 2021?

We have a full day of Premier League programming on Boxing Day on NBC Sports.

On Boxing Day in 2021 we will have seven games played across three time slots from 10 a.m. ET until past 5 p.m. ET.

When it comes to December 26, we have you covered as Aston Villa vs Chelsea and Manchester City vs Leicester City are just a few of the mouthwatering games on Boxing Day.

What makes Boxing Day so special?

Click play on the video below (from 2019) as Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe and yours truly reveal what Boxing Day means on a personal level and why it’s such a special day in the Premier League.

Enjoy the chaos!

Here is why we love Boxing Day…