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Feel the fear and do it anyway


I purchased my “Premier League Pass” on Thursday. It wasn’t a difficult decision, and it was probably just a matter of time before I bit the bullet anyway, but what finally pushed me over the edge was this announcement from Sky, just 24 hours after the new kids on the block ‘went live’:

“SKY announced today they have confirmed deals with Premier League clubs Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur to show all of their home and away EPL matches and games in a number of other competitions on SKY Sport.”

“Take on a multinational giant, will you? Well take this…” The sad thing is this token gesture will probably serve its purpose well. It will be just the excuse some people need to carry on indulging their Stockholm syndrome by sticking with the devil they know and rewarding Sky’s arrogance by being grateful for a shadow of the football coverage they had before. Sky understands this well, as their patronising press release goes on to gloatingly state:

“When we were outbid for the live EPL rights we received letters and phone calls from customers who told us they either didn’t want to pay more to watch the Premier League or for internet data. Some said they didn’t want to watch it on a computer but really wanted it on their flat screen TV in the lounge.”

Really?? Could these be the same customers who complained for decades about how Sky consistently undervalued football fans and took them for granted?

I got the $149 basic Premier League Pass option – it gives me access to every game and given I care little for the ‘magazine shows’ anyway, it’s more than enough. The price is very reasonable when you think about it. At 39 cents per game it’s a grand total of less than I spend on CDs some weeks.  If you’re like me and already watch a lot of football online because your favourite league hasn’t been on TV for yonks, you are already paying for high data caps and the technology is very familiar to you. The technical barrier to watching the internet on your flat screen TV, if you don’t have a smart TV, is a $6 cable. The fact that some would let that put them off is a little bit lame.

I have heard tell of grizzles on the forums (I can’t bear to read them myself) about the picture quality not meeting the exacting standards of some posters. Sounds to me like a marriage of convenience between Luddites searching for excuses to not venture outside their comfort zones, and techies showing off how much they know by running things down. I watched the sample videos on the website, and to my eyes there was nothing wrong with them. They are certainly a lot better than the dodgy streams I’ve had to put up with following Roma these past few years.

The latest estimate I have seen, and the Coliseum chiefs seem to agree it’s reasonably accurate, is they need 13,000 subscribers to break even. I fear they’re doomed. Football fans have a reputation in the broadcasting sector as serial complainers who seldom put their money where their mouths are. Looks as though there might be more than a bit of truth to it, sadly.

This is our one chance to break the grip of traditional television mediums that have never served us well. It has to be a success because it’s the only way we’ll break free from the tyranny of what we’ve been restricted to up until now and move into a world where the consumer really does get the choice we deserve. If it’s a success, the sky’s the limit for the depth and breadth of football we could have pumped into our living rooms in the future. If Premier League Pass doesn’t work out, it will set the inevitable progress, that make no mistake will still come someday, somehow, back a decade at least.

Why not embrace the future now?

Categories: English/UK Football Media

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here:

7 replies

  1. Well said Enzo, I was annoyed at first but the more and more I have thought about it the more I realise how good this could be for football fans. I purchased the Platinum Package and I hope it helps them to keep doing their thing for a few years, show Sky a thing or two. And I agree with you about the complaints re watching on the TV, it isn’t hard and the website shows in good detail how to do it.

    I’m looking forward to using the service!

  2. i respectively disagree – i don’t think SKY have really disrespected football at all, the numbers in terms of viewers just are not there. It’s easy to get a backer to buy the rights and start up a business such as PLP, but can they make money from them? there is the question – i guess at the rate they paid SKY didn’t believe they could so i wonder how PLP will.

    I take umbrage at all the people who for years have complained about no competition for SKY, who then turn and complain about SKY losing the rights to PLP – is this not what you wanted??

    It shall be interesting to see what happens from here but i don’t think SKY will be under a major threat from this, Rugby and league, cricket and netball are not under threat and they are the sports that bring the bucks in.

    1. Hi Tim, if there is no money in football for Sky and we fans aren’t worth anything more than what we’ve had these past few years, then Sky should bow out of the sport gracefully, stick to Rugby and Cricket, and let other companies who want to give us more choice go for it. Instead they seem to be trying to kill off the competition before it even starts…

      1. i never said there is no money in it – it’s my impression that there is no money in live premier league because the viewing numbers are so small – SKY bid based on those numbers – the money paid for these delayed rights will be much less than those PLP paid.
        Anyway talk about damned if you do and damned if you don’t – people were furious SKY lost the rights because with PLP like it or not it’s harder to view the premier league now – so having not wanted to lose the rights in the first place SKY sourced an alternative that will keep some people happy – there is now more football on offer than ever before.
        If you don’t think SKY has done anything for football then i’m afraid your wrong – and i don’t want to believe your one of these hate “rugby and cricket” footy fans who can’t see football’s behind the pecking order in NZ.

        1. I understand where football is in the pecking order of New Zealand sport and while there are a number of things I resent about rugby, the fact that it’s popular in this country isn’t particularly one of them. What I resent most is the way international sporting rights are packaged up to suit corporations like Sky at the expense of fans.

          Sky losing the rights isn’t really what I wanted. What I really want is to be able to watch what’s available out there, from Serie A to South American football to Russian football and I really don’t care who delivers it.

          The EPL doesn’t actually interest me all that much. What’s exciting about Premier League Pass is the potential to show us different leagues via a platform that’s cheaper to deliver than Sky’s current model. This is the way minority sports could be delivered to our screens cost effectively in the future, but it won’t happen if Sky aggressively protects its monopoly at our expense.

          Sky can’t or won’t deliver this service, Coliseum can so they should be left to it and if it proves to not be commercial then I guess we’ll all have to crawl back under our rocks but in the meantime I’d like to see this new way of watching sport be given a fair go.

          But regardless, the world has changed and will continue to change. I will watch Roma whether Coliseum delivers it or not because there are illegal streams and downloads. But if someone can deliver it on a more stable platform with less intrusive ads and it means I’m not breaking the law then I will pay. I want to pay! All I really want is for someone to take my money!

          P.S. I love cricket and if I didn’t have to work for a living I’d have a cricket blog as well as this one…

  3. I have only ever watched one Premier League game, but I still decided to get the $149 package. I remember that they said that they would be interested in bringing on some more leagues in the coming years if this went well, so here’s hoping they do so.

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