Tuesday, 15 September 2009

"Bloody Sky!"

Getting it off my chest about Murdoch's monopoly...

Wasn’t it great being able to watch England’s brilliant World Cup win on “proper telly”; especially so given that the last impressive victory over Croatia was virtually unwatchable thanks to satellite TV?
The now-defunct Setanta were seen as the “villains” on that occasion but usually when issues over lack of free-to-air coverage arise there’s only one culprit - “Bloody Sky!”
Of course the blame shouldn’t actually rest with the TV companies. The fact is that football, rugby and a whole host of sports have in effect “sold out” to the highest bidder with little or no thought to the impact on Joe Public.
Hence the reason why this year’s regaining of The Ashes never caught the mood of the nation in anything like the way its 2005 predecessor did - because most people never saw any of it live. Thanks ECB. And they wonder why kids don’t play cricket at school anymore. Grrrgh.
But although exempt from blame for being awarded the rights (and I’m all in favour of a market economy) it’s what the likes of Sky do with it that hacks me off. The rights to broadcast translates to rights to arrange matches and so football is no longer played exclusively on Saturdays, rugby league no longer provides a Sunday service and you can often have a weekend with no cricket whatsoever. Bloody Sky!
I’ve had many issues with Murdoch’s mob over the years but of late they’ve wound me up even more. In July their decision to switch a rugby match impacted on our planned Sporting Dinner at the KC Stadium; a month later they switched the “Derby” match and thus ruled out my attendance.
It’s not just me. Sky’s switch of Rovers’ Wakefield trip last Saturday, along with its scheduling of the play-offs, peeved Manager Mack whose hopes of seeing The Robins clinch third spot at Belle Vue had to prove subservient to overseeing our own clash against a Wakefield team at Low Farm. (Actually, given the respective results he's probably glad he missed it - and thanks to the defeat, Sky’s chosen scheduling now means he can actually get to the play-off at Leeds on Friday – if Rovers had won at Wakey he’d have had to miss the trip to St Helens due to being at Church Warsop!).
All this comes just a week after passholder Mack was forced to skip his post-match debrief against FC 05 in order to stand any chance of getting to Craven Park in time to see the win over Warrington - another game moved at the whim of Sky.
But while Mack, I and others are regularly inconvenienced by the constant Sky switches, spare a thought for the HKR-supporting bride & groom whose “big day” centred around a reception at the ground last Saturday week only for their best laid plans to be torpedoed by the aforementioned late switch of the Warrington game. Not only were they faced with having to miss their favourites in action but also having to hold their “Do” at the KC Stadium instead!!!
No, getting to watch the Ashes, Rovers’ revival and even City’s promotion to the Premier League hasn’t yet forced me to part with money in support of Murdoch. A fact I’m proud of…and besides, I usually get an invite round to Brim’s to watch anyway.
Bloody Sky!

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