Punters shouldn’t have to pick up Setanta’s tab… again
As the fallout from the Setanta shambles continues, news agencies are this morning reporting that England’s World Cup qualifier in Ukraine next Saturday will not be available live on any television channel. In a surprising turn of events, it will be available only online on a pay-per-view basis.
Apparently, none of the terrestrial or satellite broadcasters saw the game as a viable purchase and as such Internet-based broadcaster Kentaro has snapped up the rights. The service will be available for an escalating charge, starting at £4.99 for early sign ups but rising to £11.99 for those who have a last minute (possibly beer-fuelled) enthusiasm to see Capello’s men.
Does this set a precedent of the future of football broadcasting? If the costs outweigh the potential benefit for established broadcasters, then is the internet PPV market something that is likely to be further exploited?
Tough questions to answer. Boxing recently found itself in a similar position when Carl Froch’s world title fight was streamed via internet pay-per-view because no agreement for TV rights was forged. Ironically, it turned out to be a classic and ITV then quickly shelled out for the repeat rights.
The decision has already divided opinion. The spokesman for Kentaro gushed words like “pioneering” and “exciting” (well, he’s not going to tell us its sh*te is he?), but an England fan club member thinks it “disastrous and an outrage”. Strong opinions indeed.
To be honest, it’s a bit much to expect fans who already pay a lot of money every month for Sky Sports and now ESPN to shell out another fiver. Especially as, lacking the technical know-how, you’ll have to watch it on a computer monitor. So the whole situation leaves me with one question – who’s showing the highlights?!