Posted on Wednesday, 14th March 2012 by lordofthewing
Football and Tv now go hand in hand. Like ebony and ivory. Together for ever in harmony. This wasn’t always the case and those read this blog who were born after 1992 – The year fitba’ was founded – meaning that they still have their own teeth and hair may find this hard to fathom but…….we only used to get a few live matches a year and it was a BIG occasion.
Cup final day was an event. Home internationals used to see house parties with loads of lager lovelies being strewed over paisley patterned carpets. World Cup’s were worshipped as you had a whole month of live games.
Now? You can watch Crawley battle it out wie Shrewsbury on a Monday if Corrie is particularly boring that night. All 8 Big Cup games at once? Nae bother, press the wee read button and make sure you have a viable direct debit.
The Others were in talks today. I’m sure they were discussing the Tv deal that we currently have. The live games in the William Hill Scottish Cup at the weekend showed the problem that the SPL and the Scottish game as a whole have.
Hearts v St Mirren. Great game, watched by no-one. Dundee United v Us. Fantastic crowd, noisy and colourful. Motherwell v Aberdeen. Decent crowd again providing noise and colour. Also…it was also a decent game.
While some would argue that Hearts v St Mirren was the best game of the weekend the other games provided the better spectacle for the casual watcher. They looked like big occasions while Tynecastle looked a like a game shoved to a 12:30 kick off for Tv.
How do you measure the success of your Tv deal? The money you earn or how many homes get to see your brand? We seem to be hung up on the money when we should be trying to ensure that as many people as possible see the product. We currently earn £13m a season from Sky/ESPN. This seasons last 32 of the Zooropa League (this is where we should be aiming) saw three teams from Portugal, four Dutch, three Belgian, two Greek and two Polish. Apart from the Portugese who have individual deals (which cover everywhere from Australia to Africa), all the rest are a collective. Ekstraklasa have a deal which doesn’t see them sell any rights outside Poland (it does incorporate Bet 365) while the Dutch deal see’s counties as rich and varied as Hungary, Sweden and India get the pleasure of PSV, Ajax and, eh, VVV Venlo. The Greek Superleague get’s 42m Euros a season, while the Jupiler League gets an incredible 45.7m Euros a season. Yes….45.7m a season. Our Tv deal is already $hit and that is with Celtic and R*ngers, clubs, whom I think dwarf anything in the Belgian League (and the Greek). So, if the fantastic happens – R*ngers going out the game – what’s to stop us wanting a new deal but one with different priorities? The SPL’s viewing figures are good. Games are split between between Sky Sports 1 & Sky Sports 4. They constantly make top 10 viewing figures even the games that don’t involve Us and Them. You have St.Johnstone v Aberdeen drawing 197,000 viewers a few weeks back and Hibs v Hearts 260,000. Celtic v Peterhead drew nearly 300,000. Motherwell v Killie in a bore 0-0 drew 64,000. Our ESPN figures see us either topping the charts (unless we are up against an EPL game) or easily top three. We always out strip the more expensively purchased Bundesliga, Serie A and Eredivisie. Yes, ESPN market share is smaller (compare the 260,000 to 87,000 for a Embra’ Derby) but we are one of ESPN’s top hitters. Remember also, Sky get the BIG SPL games. The Tv Deal needs to represent the maxim exposure we can get not just the best money. We need to work with companies that want to work with us and not just want us to fill air time. The SPL have to make sure the live games are spectacles that means full stadiums (something the Bundesliga does spectacularly well). Sky, ESPN, BBC, STV, Apple, Mircosoft, Google, Yous Tube actually, anyone that has the power to show live football on any format has to be offered the chance to get a slice. We need more partners not less. We need a loosing of the rules and more flexibility. The fans? Well, we will embrace Friday night, Saturday lunchtime/ nighttime, Sunday lunchtime/nighttime & Monday nights if it’s £10 entry just so that 5 folk in Japan can see the game. This R*ngers affair has caused nothing but negativity while our viewing figures are positive and we should be looking at this whole thing as a positive.