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Gabby's Blog

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Repeat after me - It's not Sky's or ESPN's fault



Broadcasting deals for Scotttish football have received a lot of bad press in the last 12 months. Some off it quite rightly warranted, however a great deal of iit was anywhere between misguided to just plain wrong.

The facts are there are 2 types on sport: sport with a TV presence and amatuer sport watched by 2 men annd a dog. Some people are too quick to judge the negative aspects of broadcast contracts without acknowleging the overwhelming positives. And they are overwhelming, so let's look at just of few of them.

1. Broadcast agreements are not just free advertising, they actually pay to advertise football. Now if someone can to my business and said they would pay me to advertise my product I would be deighted. TV showcases football and it is up to the foootball authorities to ensure the product they are pedallng is up to scratch and it is up to the Clubs to recognise the additional benefits of TV besides direct income . This leads nicely into...

2. ...that old myth that televised games leads to reduced crowds. This myth is perpetuated by clubs receiving additional revenue from TV for live games due to a reduction in the expected crowd. So what football clubs are doing is telling their fans to stay home and watch the game on TV because we don't need you because of the TV cash. All it would take is a change of attitude from clubs to break the back of this myth. It astounds me because all the evidence around world sport suggests the exact opposite is true. Closer to Scotland I don't so attendances in the EPL dropping signifiicantly because of live coverage. In fact the 2 biggest football codes in Australia have enjoyed record TV ratings and attendance. So why is it different? Because nothing beats the match day experience at the ground.

Sure I am looking at this through rose coloured glasses and I understand the limitations of the current broadcast agreements. In my opinion, the biggest problem with the current broadcast agreement is that the football authorities have also fallen for rvenue bottom line. I guarantee that things would have been commpletly different if the SPL had agreed a deal with the BBC all those years ago.

By giving into Setanta/Sky et al they gave up the thing they really needed the most - access to fans. If games were on the BBC then the potential audience reach would be much higher, access for fans is much cheaper and easier.

So, in summary, blaming broadcast agreements for all the illls achieves nothing, focusing on the match day experience is everything.


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