Recently, it was announced that the next England away game in the World Cup 2010 tournament (a tournament they already have qualified for) against Ukraine on Saturday will be available on the internet only. This is not the first time this has happened, with Setanta pulling the plug on Croatia vs. England. Nevertheless, people have been up in arms about this, that it’s restricting access to the public, it’s a step back, and how we are all so unlucky for not seeing England struggle in a former Soviet state.
As a geek, I really don’t agree. Furthermore, I can muster three reasons why.
1. More people have internet in this country than Sky Sports & ESPN
Sky Sports looking at recent data has around 2.5 million subscribers, and ESPN has around 50000 subscribers (source: BARB). The internet in the UK has around 48.8 million internet users (source), many of them on a broadband connection, suitable for watching online video. Okay, only 1 million people will be able to watch this game, but lets be honest, England have qualified, who really wants to see a game like this?
2. It’s Actually Cheaper
Okay, it’s £4.99 up front, on top of a Sky & ESPN subscription (which is a few pence under £30 a month). That is around 6 matches. How much do you actually watch the sports channels? Most Premier League teams play 5 games a month. If you only watch them, you save £5. Which you can spend watching your local club, which brings us on to our third point.
3. It may see an increase in local sports
Colwyn Bay has seen a bit of a drop in attendances this year, and we’re not the only ones. Clubs outside of the top flight have been struggling (amongst them have included: Accrington Stanley, Farsley Celtic, Hyde United & many many more), the main reason has been that it’s easier to watch football in front of the TV than live. Personally, I watch very little football on TV, but love watching it live. It’s far more fun, and you actually feel like a fan, rather than a spectator glued to the TV.
Or in this case, the Internet.