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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

‘We Hate Setanta’: The Dilemma of Modern Football

We Hate Setanta.’ Yes, this is the slogan of many English fans now. They really hate this TV channel. Before going to everything, I hope you know that Setanta is an Irish television channel. Well, it may be an Irish TV channel, but it is gradually becoming an important part of life of most English football fans. Setanta has the TV rights of England’s away matches in world cup qualifying round and the bad part is that it is not a very popular channel in England. Setanta is a cable channel and that is that most people can not watch its programs unless they subscribe to the channel.

In England, Sky television is the most popular cable channel. It is very popular and they cover almost every event live and exclusive for British people. So, England wanted to put an end to the monopoly of Sky Sports and they gave the away matches to another television channel. Setanta got it and became very important. Now, the problem is that most people in England do not subscribe to the channel as it needs more money. As a result they could not watch the Andorra vs England match live on Saturday. Setanta Sports did not even allow terrestrial channels like BBC and ITV to broadcast highlights of the match. It was like a national disaster for England as football is most popular sports and there is overwhelming supports for the sports in England. Now, if the English fans could forget the sadness of Andorra match because Andorra was a weak team, then the bigger sadness is waiting for them tomorrow when they are going to face Croatia.

This match is going to be on Setanta too and it is not still clear if terrestrial television channel will be bale to broadcast any highlights. In fact, Setanta demanded too much money and BBC and ITV are not eager to pay the money for the highlight. So, unless there is a last-minute deal, there is a huge possibility that English fans will not be able to see the Croatia vs England match tomorrow live unless they are subscribers of Setanta television channel. That means that, majority of the people in England will not be able to enjoy their world cup qualifying 2010 match.

I think that it is a dilemma of modern football. On the one hand, everything is done in the name of football. Everyone related to football management, the clubs and companies want to take advantage from the immense popularity of football. Well, on the other hand, football is increasingly becoming the hotcake of the rivalry of major television channel. Thus, football is now almost terrestrial free-to-air tv channels and it is now the property of cable channels. This is the case in almost all the European country. Often, they have to watch their favorite matches in cable channels. Sometimes, even they have to watch a football match at pay-per-view. This is a total disaster for football because football is a sports for the ordinary people. However, it is increasingly becoming a sport which will be enjoyed by rich people. I am sure that ticket prices of football matches will be increased significantly in the next few years. Thus, only rich people will be bale to enjoy football matches.

Thus, you can hate Setanta, but you have to buy its service if you want to England’s matches.

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