Hello Dear Reader
I must warn you that these are all my own thoughts.
In the past few months and weeks, there have been a number of high-profile changes to televised sporting events. The last most notable one was the Open golf championship, held here in the UK. This has moved from the BBC (free-to-air) to pay-per-view.
Why? It is certainly not for coverage these days as free-to-air reach as many homes as cable and satellite, I would argue. Given the advances in televisions, set-top boxes and the interweb, you no longer need the old fashioned ariel to see these channels. There can be only one motivation in my view, money.
Now we hear that one of my most enjoyed competitions, the rugby union 6 Nations is to be split between BBC and ITV. This,they say is a good thing. No it is not. Not for me anyway, The last time ITV took over one of my favoured sports was F1. That was a disaster given the so-called conditions they claimed they would show F1. ITV cannot exist without advert breaks, hence F1, a live moving, changing sport, would come complete with advert breaks. However, they would be sensitive to the action, make sure you never missed anything and be better than the Beeb. What rubbish. There was one notorious moment when in the British Grand Prix of all places, Hill was about to overtake Schumacher. It was amazing driving, wheel-to-wheel, Hill was fighting to get past, you could his front tyres level with Schumacher’s rear. Then he was almost level, the left hand of corner coming up, Hill would take the lead or they would crash or the box for soap power would make clothes all cleaner?
I sat there for seconds thinking I had changed channel, what was I doing? But no, ITV had gone to an advert break because it was half past the hour and no make what the advert break had to come before the amazing action. It took me almost an hour to get through to ITV to explain to a very fed-up sounding person, how the idiots had been allowed to ruin the race. Not only did they cut at the action point but they rejoined at a point where clearly Hill had finished his move and was well clear. They lied. At no point did they ‘freeze’ the action and come back as though we missed nothing. F1 went into the dustbin for me.
This is why I am so against ITV with my favoured sports. Currently, highlights of Premier Rugby Union (once on BBC 2 Sunday evening) can now be found, well only if you really really look, somewhere on an ITV channel at midnight or 1am.
At a time when we need to get people into sport, when people need to enjoy sport or just have something to look forward to rather than soaps, why does this country allow the removal of sports from good broadcasters? Don’t forget, the BBC showed paralympic long before channel 4 did. Their coverage of the London games was poor in many places. They missed 90% of the marathon just about, they missed a gold medal archery match between two, TWO, Brits. BBC did a far better coverage. Now the Olympics is under threat and guess who will clearly want to bid.
We need money in sports, but not at the expense of good coverage to boost interest in the young. Cricket, now almost gone from free-to-air often struggles to get people into grounds. Golf, may well suffer the same fate as less will see it. Many years ago, the RFU had all the England 6 Nation matches on Sky for one year. It nearly cost them more than just a few pennies.
There needs to be a change in how free-to-air is financed in order to keep sporting interests alive. Remember when athletics went to ITV, they disappeared and nothing from overseas was shown. However,the BBC (again) brought coverage from the overseas meetings. I wonder if interest went down in the sports then? Like wise, when the BBC showed the Olympics in my sport, archery, numbers went up. Maybe that is just to simple. There is in some countries what is called the ‘Crown Jewels’, those sports that must remain free-to-air. It is said by Sky and BT that they have enhanced certain sports by taking them away from free-to-air, but for me at what cost. You can read more of this at the BBC here; http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33357440
So now I have to consider watching England rugby 6 Nations matches with adverts and annoying bits. Humm.
Tagline: ‘Can someone tell them the match started’