Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Dark Ages of Football

There are plenty of businesses that should be pulled kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Airports is one. Government is another. But within the entertainment industry, there can't be many organisations as backwards as that which runs our very own national sport.

Turns out Sky Sports has won more of the rights to show live football. As far as I can figure out, this gives the average consumer very little to cheer about. The government needs to take a look at an industry which forces consumers down a duopolistic, narrow broadcast channel when the web offers so many greater possibilities - and these possibilities could well be more lucrative for distributors and football clubs alike.

Let's just say that I wanted to watch this match live. My choices would've been to either go to the ground or, ironically, go abroad and watch it on TV. Or watch a poor quality live stream through a dodgy website.

Let's just say that I want to only watch live matches involving my favorite club. There are no packages that let me do that, I have to pay for all the other games too. I won't even get this on the club's dedicated TV channel!

Let's just say that I want to watch a specific goal from the weekend. I've got to look on Youtube, and keep trying until a clip appears, then watch it quickly before it's taken down. The fact this happens is sufficient proof of demand, surely? Fortunately it's still possible to see the best goal ever scored...but we all have our own favorites, and they're not always easy to find or see.

Long Tail economics assert that infinite supply leads to unlimited demand. There is such a vast quantity of footage out there (including off the field of play) that it's surely just a question of how you serve it up and what you charge.

Dear Football Association: We will look back on this time as the dark ages of football. The above demands aren't unusual, and there's a ready made distribution network out there waiting to be harnessed. Time to suit up!

/rant

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