The Premier League’s Battle Against Vine Is Doomed To Failure

In one of his more recent efforts to be perceived as a forward thinking, progressive sports administrator, FIFA President Sepp Blatter declared the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to be “the first truly mobile and social world cup” – a statement that is hard to dispute.

Twitter’s traffic records were broken, Facebook experienced a surges in popularity and mobile networks reported that live streaming, video highlights and social media use was reaching unprecedented levels.

This was partly fuelled by the sharing of video clips of goals on YouTube and Vine shortly after the ball had hit the back of the net. But despite the obvious exposure and fan engagement opportunities that such activity provides, the Premier League has pledged to crackdown on users sharing clips of its matches.



GAA Puts Money Ahead Of Principles With Sky Sports TV Deal

Reading the Irish press in recent weeks, it would seem feasible that the three main issues affecting the country are the introduction of water charges, Garth Crooks’ controversial Croke Park concerts and the decision by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to sell some of its TV rights to Sky Sports.

The GAA’s new broadcast deal will see state broadcaster RTE show 31 matches and Sky 20 matches – 14 of which will be exclusively live. This marks the first time All-Ireland matches have not been free-to-air in Ireland, with RTE showing matches since 1962 and commercial station TV3 broadcasting games between 2008 and 2013.

So what? Sports organisations have been getting into bed with pay-tv for some time, why is this any different? Well, unlike football or rugby union, Gaelic Games are amateur at the highest level, with the GAA’s remit being to promote the games as part of a wider movement to promote Irish culture and the Irish language.

By partnering with Sky, many feel the GAA has prioritised commercial gain ahead of its principles, which would dictate hurling and Gaelic football are available to as wide a domestic audience as possible.


Free BT Sport Is Set To Change TV Landscape


It’s not often that the marketing hype lives up to its billing, but BT’s decision to give BT Sport and live Premier League football to all of its broadband customers does indeed feel like a “game changer.”

Since 1992, Sky has dominated the pay-tv landscape, fuelled by the success of its football coverage, allowing it to expand into other markets, like telephone and broadband, offering customers ‘triple play’ packages that BT would not be able to compete with.

Virgin Media is also able to offer such packages through its cable network, while BT has attempted to catch up with BT Vision, a curious mix of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and IPTV over its broadband network.


Behind The Scenes Of Soccer AM

Soccer AM 6Soccer AM has been a staple of mine and many football fans’ Saturday morning since it debuted on our screens in the mid-1990s. Its eclectic mix of footballing features, nonsensical sketches and vast array of in-jokes have earned it a cult following that has occasionally spilled over into the mainstream.

In the early part of the past decade, it’s Save Chip campaign to assist the fictional Chip’s battle to let his girlfriend let him watch football, saw signs appear at sporting events around the country and messages of support appeared in Championship Manager 01-02, while the show successfully lobbied for the Iain Dowie-invented ‘bouncebackability’ to be included in the Oxford dictionary.

It has survived line-up changes, a reduced running time and minor alterations to the format, but it remains essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the sport. When I was invited to attend the filming of the show last month, I couldn’t accept the offer quickly enough, even though it meant sacrificing my Saturday morning lie-in.


Can Premier League Highlights Drive Newspaper Subscriptions?

The Times

The Premier League’s lucrative auction of its broadcast rights continued yesterday when News International was awarded the mobile and online near-live clip rights for all 380 fixtures for three years, starting from the 2013-14 season.

The move is an intriguing one from the Rupert Murdoch-backed company and appears to suggest that it believes Premier League football can do for newspaper subscriptions what it did for the take up of Sky television in the early 1990s.

The mobile and online packages had previously been sold separately, but successful bidders have struggled to market and monetise the rights effectively, leading to the suggestion that they simply aren’t profitable as a standalone product.


NBC Premier League TV Deal Shows Rising Influence Of Football In US

NBC’s $250 million purchase of the US rights to all 380 Premier League matches might be a drop in the ocean when compared to BT and Sky’s combined £3 billion deals in the UK, but it is perhaps one of the more intriguing events in the recent history of American sports broadcasting.

As part of the three year deal that begins next season, NBC will show up to six live matches a week on its English language television stations, with the rest shown on its online platform. Matches will mostly be televised on the NBC Sports Network, but select games will be shown on the ‘Peacock Network’s’ flagship channel, NBC.

The deal is unprecedented for a foreign sports property in the US and is not only an indication of NBC’s belief that football can help it displace ESPN, the incumbent market leader in American sports television, but it also demonstrates the growing popularity of the sport in a country that has traditionally struggled to embrace it.


RIP Ceefax Page 301: The End Of An Era

Last night, Northern Ireland became the final region of the UK to complete the digital switchover, bringing to an end the 76 year history of analogue television in this country.

Most will have barely noticed the milestone, having already entered the digital age. Digital television brings a greater choice of channels and superior signal quality, but many will mourn the passing of Ceefax. The original real time news service will be fondly remembered by sports fans, who hold a special place in their hearts for it.

As a football-obsessed eight year-old, I used the text service religiously as I had never used the Internet and Sky Sports News was still a year away from launching. In 1997, my thirst for football news was quenched with Match Magazine, the newspaper that my dad brought back from London each evening and Ceefax.


Premier League TV Deal Changes UK Broadcasting Landscape

Not even the most optimistic Premier League chairman could have predicted the huge windfall that is set to benefit their club when the new £3 billion domestic television contract comes into effect from 2013-14.

The impact that increased revenues will have on the league from a footballing perspective will be the focus of most of the reaction to the announcement, but the effect that it will have on the UK sports television landscape will be no less intriguing.

Much of the speculation prior to the auction had been about a potential bid by Al Jazeera for the rights, having wrested the Ligue 1 rights from the incumbent Canal+ in France. Although such a seismic shift in power did not occur, BT’s entry and ESPN’s failure leave the American-owned sports network’s future in the UK in doubt.


The Not So Super League Show

Earlier this week, Warrington coach Tony Smith spoke of the need to make rugby league “sexy”, offering the example of darts as the way to market to a new audience. Some may scoff at such a suggestion, but darts’ renaissance has resulted in a high profile world championships and a premier league that entertains sold out arenas across the country.

The RFL has recognised the need to expand beyond the game’s heartland in the north if it is to carve out a niche in the national sporting landscape, but its various expeditions have produced mixed results. Catalans Dragons have been an unqualified success, matching on the field success with a passionate, loyal fanbase, but Crusaders persistent problems culminating in the club’s extinction last year.


Should the BBC keep the Football League Show?

It’s fair to say that the BBC’s weekly Football League highlights round-up, the imaginatively titled Football League Show (FLS), has experienced a mixed reaction from football fans since its inception in August 2009, but it is generally a vast improvement over the much-maligned and inconveniently scheduled ITV equivalent, The Championship.

However its absence from our screens over the Christmas period has ultimately led to speculation that the programme could be scrapped permanently when the BBC’s contract expires at the end of the season.