Friday, September 12, 2008

Setanta versus Sky

There's a lot of furore and anger over the fact Setanta Sports acquired the exclusive rights to show the last two England qualifiers (see here for one ridiculous headline, from the Evening Standard no less).

What riles me about this criticism is that no one raised an eyebrow when Sky Sports obtained exclusive rights to show the away qualifiers for Euro 2008. If people want to get wound up by this, they should be looking at the role Sky has played in the past two decades in taking away major sporting events from free-to-air television. Aided and abetted by this government, the so-called "crown jewels" of British sport have been picked off one by one, including all home international cricket and events like the Worthington Cup Final.

I will declare myself an interested spectator - I have Setanta for free as part of my Virgin XL TV package. I don't have Sky Sports. I have little time for Sky in general, thanks to its extensive links to News Corporation and Rupert Murdoch. Remember, this is a man who is Australian-born, lives in the US as an American citizen, pays little or no tax in this country and yet enjoys a large influence over the running of this country. So forgive me if I don't shed tears for Sky or anyone who subscribes to its services, just as you probably shed no tears for me or anyone else when Sky picked off one major sporting event after another...

No comments: