[Last week I won a day pass to PremierLeaguePass, courtesy of a fine friend to in-the-back-of-the.net – Sportsfreak. I wanted to use it for the purpose of writing a review of the new Serie A highlights service, but rather than do it myself, because you can probably guess what I’d say so much so that you could write the review for me (rave rave Serie A, fantastic, rave rave Roma, rave), I decided to instead give the pass to a friend and ask him to give me a fresh opinion. Here’s what he had to say.]
By Steven Hill
I heard second hand from someone who had overheard someone else at a football game that PremierLeaguePass were going to start showing a weekly highlights package of Italy’s Serie A football league. “Fantastic” I thought. I like to follow Roma in particular and a highlights package is a good way to keep up with a league in general.
I’d also been gifted a free Day Pass so I took a look at the PLP website to see if there was any more information. Useful stuff like when is it available and how long for? I’d been burnt before with Day Passes. Games I wanted to watch weren’t available because of the complicated rules that go along with English Premier League rights. I didn’t want a repeat of that frustration because I hadn’t paid close enough attention to what “as live” or “on demand” actually mean.
This is a weakness of the PLP model that doesn’t seem to have generated much discussion. When games are broadcast on television, if you have a set top box, you can record them and watch them whenever you want. There is no compulsion to watch it before the next round begins, which doesn’t give you much time when there’s a mid-week round.
Well do you think I could find a single mention of Serie A? Of course not! The PLP website looks good. It’s slick, professional, and reliable when you actually buy a pass and watch a game or two, but if you’re looking for general information about what’s available and how it works then all you’ve to go from is a long tedious list of FAQs. Click on ‘Schedule’ and all you can see is a list of the previous EPL round’s games or the next round depending on the time of the week you’re looking. How about ‘Highlights’ if I’m looking for a highlights package? No you have to log in before you can go any further. How about ‘News’? It might have an item ‘Coming soon to PLP. Serie A Highlights’. No.
So anyway, I decided to take the plunge on Sunday afternoon and hopefully watch a Serie A Highlights package and watch my team, (Arsenal), play Everton live, (or “as live”), on Monday morning. As soon as I signed up and entered my code – BINGO! I could see the schedule of games to watch. Arsenal v Hull in mid-week had already gone but there was Serie A Highlights sitting there just waiting for me to click “Play.” So I did.
Now, I’m used to the excellent weekly coverage provided by the Premier League, albeit punctuated by advertisements this season. It has a voice over which introduces each match and gives some background information of the form and table position of the teams. No work required by the viewer except to sit down, shut-up, grab a beer, and watch. Would it be too much to expect something equally as informative and entertaining?
It would. No introduction – straight into the first game. After a few games, judging by the length of time each game was given, I thought it would be a thirty minute show. The video player on my computer however said it was just over an hour long. About thirty minutes later all the games had been shown and a graphic showed the resultant table. I left it running wondering what was going to use up the next half hour. After an advertisement it suddenly started from the beginning again. I figured I didn’t need to see it again so stopped the replay and logged out of PLP.
So in summary:
- No voiceover – that’s OK. I should know what’s happening without needing that.
- Before each game, except the first, (maybe the show’s beginning had been chopped off), a graphic showed the final score, the scorers, and what minute the goals went in. Huh? I prefer not to know the final score before a game. They got the score wrong for one game – Roma v Atalanta – the only game that I knew the final score beforehand.
- No post match interviews. Frankly we’re better off without them. Asking a manager or a player straight after a game if he thought he should’ve had a penalty in the 34th minute – well you can predict the answer and it doesn’t give you any great insight into the game. Oh yeah, and they’d probably be in Italian anyway.
It was a staccato quick-fire watch, with no time to draw breath, (or grab my beer), and think about each game before the next one started. I saw all the goals and final scores for the round though which was enough to satisfy my Serie A fix. I’ll do some homework and maybe have a copy of the table next to me before I watch it next time with my finger ready on the pause button, so I can pause and take in the significance of each game before it starts and the result after it’s finished.
Judging by the accents of the commentators the pictures were coming from Setanta, who I believe have held the rights for Serie A in this part of the world for some time. Has anyone noticed the excellent German Bundesliga highlights package that screens every Tuesday night on Sommet? I’m pretty sure that it comes from Setanta and it’s terrific. One hour long it covers every game with a review of all results and table positions at the end. No commentary but a voiceover keeps you informed the whole way through.
[Steven Hill is a Wellington based Arsenal fan and Wellington Phoenix season ticket holder. He’s also my uncle, which probably explains the congenital Roma sympathies 🙂]
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: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/