Lies, damned lies and then... propaganda
I was driving back from Colney this morning when my ears pricked at a story on the radio.
Apparently the footballing authorities are worried about the record number of illegal live streams of football matches on the internet.
They believe the streams are now more widely available, and I think they have got a point – you can often view a Norwich game online somewhere, even when the Sky or BBC television cameras are nowhere to be seen, and usually through a betting website.
But what did get me was their reasoning for why this is such a bad thing.
The authorities – presumably the FA, Premier League, Football League et al – protest the increase in illegal streaming means less fans will go to games and watch live football.
Really? I mean, really really?
To me that seems about as likely as the ‘film piracy pays for terrorism’ line that appeared in cinemas after 9/11 and disappeared soon after. Don’t think so.
Surely most people grabbing a live feed will be from far away – or unlikely to be visiting a game anyway?
Why would poor quality and unreliable feeds be more attractive than taking in the atmosphere of live football?
And why would they have a much bigger impact on attendances than the amount of football the authorities have sold for inflated prices to Sky, the BBC and the like?
Nope – to me the attendance issue is just a smoke screen.
Once again it comes down to money, protecting the rights holders and penalising the fans.
I understand commodities need to be protected, rights not infringed. But there is a demand for these streams because football is not widely accessible enough, tickets are pricey and the thoughts of the fans do not come first.
When Plymouth v Newcastle ends up on TV on a Sunday lunchtime, are they really worried about the number of fans that will make the journey? Erm… no.
Isn’t it a bit late to get a conscience – unless they are going to genuinely make a difference?
And stop treating us all like mugs and at least do us the courtesy of being honest.
posted on 22 October 2010 18:02 byMichael Bailey - Sportsdesk