Sky Is Killing Our Game
Sky broadcast a lot of sport, and claim the lion's share of the football that is broadcast in this country.
They hand over a mountain of money and this large haul comes at a price. A price that a few people have started to question.
Sky seem to have enough clout now to tell our clubs who and when they will be playing. This power comes from the grubby little fingers of the clubs scrabbling feverishly for more and more of the pie.
I can see no possible reason for Skly persisting in the showing of the same teams week asfter week after week. Over recent years Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have been the most televised English teams.
Sky says that these are the teams that people want to watch, over and above all others. I for one disagree vehemently. I, personally, would much prefer to see a good mix of games.
Sky picks the same teams for English Premier league games and also Champions League games. Have they not heard that familiarity breeds contempt?
The Champions League games are easy to predict because we all know before the season begins who has qualified for this competition.
That said why on earth can't they select some other clubs when these teams are in European competition on any given week. Same old argument, we want it.
The fixtures are made and then Sky picks the games which they will be moved from the normal Saturday starting time for their precious stay at home sports fans.
3pm Saturday afternoon has now become Friday night, or Saturday midday. Saturday at 5pm or Sunday middayish. Sunday at 4.05pm or even Sunday evening. Finally it can also be a Monday night special.
When challenged by this preponderance of choice and time they smugly state that these are the games and times that their customers want.
Well I am sick and tired of being told that I am going to watch Man Utd after the rest of the foorball is finished on Saturday. I do not want to watch Liverpool either early on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal on Sunday evening is usually a miss as I am gunner watch a film or let the kids watch a kiddies programme before they retire to bed.
Worst of all I refuse to alter my Monday night television just because Sky say I want to watch Chelsea at their boring, cheating worst.
I would love a chance to see Blackpool fighting for survival. There is a distinct chance of seeing some goals as they fight vainly to avoid relegation.(Sorry Blackpool)
Many games such as a Leeds versus Millwall or being biased, Southampton against anyone would appeal to me much more. I want variety not monotony.
Worse still though, is the fact that the Premier League and Football League now allow Sky to do as they please almost willy nilly.
The JPT final at Wembley was played at the ridiculous time of 1.30pm. Too early for most as they had to travel far for the priviledge of paying extortionate prices for the luxury.
The Premier League in it's hurry to grab the lolly forget that the base of our game is as important as the top. The base just happens to be where most players begin.
I am not advocating we watch weeks of non-league football. Nor am I insisting that all leagues deserve the same amount of airplay.
I am not quite as dumb as that, though some might think otherwise. No, I believe that the main requisite is for a more even distribution of the wealth.
Just because Sky say that we all want to watch the games that they pick does not mean it is so. In fact there is no reason really for this debate.
Sky broadcast our games to near enough all parts of the world. Our Premier League is shown worldwide to many more countries than any other league.
That tells me that the money that they collect from us for the football coverage is only a small portion of the fees they collect.
Now if this is true they have been pulling a double bluff. They can not honestly tell me that in this country they can only show the big four or five teams.
To show our games to the USA and Canada as well as Australia and Asia means that they are not always broadcasting the games live. For us to have so many different times which are suitable to this country's work hours means very few in my mind are shown to live audiences worldwide, at times to suit them.
In India the matches are broadcast live on ESPN and Starsports. Over 100 million and up to 300 million watch the programmes in the Peoples Republic of China.
In Australia Fox Sports (Australia) have a thing called viewers choice. This gives their viewers the choice of up to five live games on any given day and up to nine games a week.
In New Zealand Sky Network Television shows several live games every weekend, plus summary shoes and delayed matches.
Sky has plenty of financial muscle and knows how to flex it. Now we have to take the bull by the horn and take control of our game. It is after all something that Sky wants badly.
We have the muscle if only our chairmen had the balls to use them. It is our game and we should tell Sky if they don't play ball(?) we will stop them covering our matches.
Let's see how fast we could regain control. Sky still needs us more than we need them.