About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Goodbye Sky Sports News

Sky Sports News disappeared from Freeview last week, a move which is depriving football fans without the money or the inclination to buy the requisite equipment and subscription, of their excellent up to date news of football scores across Britain.
This seems to be part of a purely principled attitude from the Murdoch that nothing comes from free, following the move earlier in the summer to make The Times website subscription only.  It also follows the landmark Ofcom decision which forced down the price the of the Sports channels which means they are available for less money from BT.  
By righteous parsimony they have seemingly deprived themselves of what was really free advertising as Sky Sports could be perhaps labelled more truthfully "News about sport that is televised by Sky" as anyone who tuned in during their non existent World Cup coverage will testify.  Maybe they have sensed that with the number of subscribers stubbornly stuck at around the 40% of viewers mark, the savvy consumer can merely fulfil their TV sporting needs by watching the highlights provided on Freeview (I know I did!).
However they may have shot themselves in the foot as non league football clubs who cannot sustainably afford the excessive subscription levied on those who wish to broadcast pay TV in public, may turn to the many illegal options available.  Certainly those who can't or won't pay will continue to lose bar revenue as supporters troop straight out of the ground to the nearest venue showing all the sport.
Perhaps its time for the FA to stand up to their TV paymasters and demand all member clubs get a free subscription.  This would certainly produce a more equitable share out of funds if this money was abstracted from the prize money fund and would act as a real investment in grassroots football as it would incentivise clubs to make better use of their social facilities.
Alternatively this is a great opportunity for the BBC to fulfil their public service brief which they do so well with their Football League coverage, and extend their Red Button Saturday afternoon/Midweek evening service by using the audio resources of Radio Five, visual ones of BBC 3 and 4 before they start broadcasting at 7 pm, and then Channel 301 (Freeview red button) thereafter.

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