Setanta replaced by a worse entity
Apologies in advance for the inevitable spiral into rant mode that this blog post will no doubt turn in to, but when the sports broadcaster Setanta finally went belly up a couple of months ago after robbing sports fans of their viewing pleasures I must admit I was quite happy. Amused as well in a lot of ways, there’s nothing like seeing blatant con artists get their comeuppance.
Football fans in the United Kingdom will probably know where I’m going with this, but it really was an absolute farce that to watch the sport of football – our national game – we have to pay a subscription to a company called Sky TV to watch practically anything. That in itself is understandable because for that we get to watch about 90 games a season as well as other sports garnished with an overall high quality service, but then Setanta came along and charged us to watch a further 40 or so as well as things like high-profile boxing matches. What annoyed me about that was it wasn’t even meaningless games like Hull vs Stoke being shown (no offence meant if there are any supporters reading) but games with the potential to be excellent like Chelsea vs Manchester City for example. All this was just about forgiveable however because Sky Sports were already showing about as much as their schedule would allow, but even so only about 3 million people bothered to subscribe to Setanta and they paid a massive amount of money to rob the public of potentially excellent games that should at the very least be on Sky TV.
The worst part was with international games, keeping in mind that beforehand all England international games were shared between terrestrial channel ITV and Sky TV which everyone was happy with. Once again Setanta paid a silly amount of money to take away Sky’s rights and broadcast something like home friendly fixtures and away competitive fixtures (World Cup qualifiers etc), meaning that while away friendlies and home competitive games were still shown on ITV we had to pay more to watch our national team play our national sport.
To paint a picture for you, where I am in England I pay about £12 per month just to watch any sort of television. I then pay roughly £16 a month to subscribe to the sports channels on Sky TV. In order to watch more Premier League games as well as my country play I would have had to pay a further £12 to Setanta, or £10 once the company realised they were up the creek without a paddle and needed to do something just to survive. Anyway, to watch my country play football I’d have to pay something like £40 per month, and that’s assuming I didn’t subscribe to any of the other Sky TV channels like movies, entertainment, documentaries and so on. Considering I do like to watch that sort of thing and currently pay about £35 per month for those programs anyway, adding on a further £12 to subscribe to Setanta was appalling and out of principal something I refused to do.
Excluding the cost of my TV licence, watching my country play football shouldn’t cost me a penny.
Many other sports fans felt the same way and refused to pay a subscription fee on top of their existing subscription fee on top of their TV licence fee to watch certain football matches. After out-bidding various rivals like ITV and the BBC (who admirably offered quite a lot of money themselves) they bought all that for a ridiculous sum of money as I mentioned earlier, and then couldn’t fathom why people were pissed off that a small Irish company was forcing them to pay even more to watch a sport that up to that point had been shared between ITV and Sky Sports – nobody ever considered another rival would come along and basically say “we’re having that, you have to pay even more now!” Ultimately they thankfully went belly up, I couldn’t help but let out an inner cheer when they made that announcement.
I honestly thought at the time that football would be (more or less) given back to the people after that as a lot of Premiership matches as well as the international games were now available to purchase. Eventually they were bought by American company ESPN. In short from what I understand they’re doing identical business to what Setanta did before them – but charging more money. I’m not sure if they have the rights to the international matches Setanta previously had but I do know they’ve got the 40 odd Premier League games secured. Of course people weren’t happy about nothing changing so ESPN apparently offered their programs for free throughout the month of August, but as it turns out they’re either lying or there’s a problem at my end because not once have I been able to access their channel.
Same shit, different company is what we’ve ended up with after the demise of Setanta, eventually these corporate idiots might realise that what they’re doing really won’t work. People are willing to pay for Sky Sports because they offer an excellent service and a lot of sports coverage, but paying more on top for an inferior service simply won’t work out in the long run. Hopefully once ESPN bite the proverbial bullet the international fixtures at the very least will be shared between the BBC and ITV on the terrestrial channels. That’s how it should be.