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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Television and Broadcasting


BT close to Conference deal

BT Vision are hungry for content in their battle with BSkyB and it looks as if they are close to a £300,000 deal to show Football Conference game as well as stream them online. It is thought that 25-30 live games will be shown in the first season.

For the last three years the Conference has had a deal with Premier Sports which saw home clubs paid £5,000 and visiting clubs £1,000 for each live broadcast. It's a long way from the riches of the Premiership.

BT ups the ante in war with BSkyB

BT has upped the ante in its battle with BSkyB to retain broadband customers. Subscribers to its reduced cost broadband service will have free access to its share of Premier League football games. BT has invested £2.5bn in its high speed broadband network and a further £1bn over three years in its sports channels.

Sky Deutschland hits pay dirt

Its cheap tickets are the toast of the supporters' movement, and lazy commentators are predicting that it will knock the Premiership off its perch, but the Bundesliga is also boosting the profits of Sky Deutschland. Last year they extended their Bundesliga match rights until the 2016-17 season and it's already looking like a good buy.

Up for the Cup

The 5.15 timing for this year's FA Cup final has provoked controversy.   Wigan Athletic fans are particularly aggrieved.  By the time the game has finished it will be too late for them to get to Euston and catch a train home.   The FA's response has been to recommend using a coach, provided by one of their sponsors, National Express.  But this could mean a return home well after midnight, not fun if you have small children with you.

US Premiership deal seen as breakthrough

In discussion of new markets for Premiership television rights, the emphasis has been on emerging countries in Asia alongside an increasing interest in Africa where GDP per capita is growing rapidly in some countries.    Rights are now sold to more than 200 markets.

Pub TV war hots up

The battle between BT Vision and Sky for the lucrative pub market is intensifying.   This will be welcome news to pub landlords who feel that they have been overcharged by Sky.   The pub trade has never really recovered from the smoking ban and many pubs have closed.

Dog insults exchanged in BSkyB and BT war

The war of words between BT and BSkyB over television rights and advertising has intensified.  BSkyB described BT as a '£22bn gorilla in puppy's clothing' in response to BT's claim that it was like a small dog against the BSkyB 'rottweiler'.   It is possible, however, that consumers could benefit from a price war.

Radio rights retained

Many people argued that the arrival of television would mean the end of radio or at least of talk radio as distinct from a dj playing music (or perhaps no dj at all). However, radio remains important to football, particularly keener fans.

Thatcher, football and the Premier League

It's fair to say that Mrs Thatcher was no fan of football.   She tended to see it through  a  'law and order' lens, although it has to be admitted that there were serious problems of that kind during the time she was prime minister.

She came up with a completely unworkable membership card scheme for football fans which, if implemented, would have seriously damaged the game.   It was another case of treating football fans as second class citizens, although unfortunately that still happens today.

Search for new Conference sponsor is on

With the completion of the takeover of loss-making Blue Square by Betfair, the search for a new sponsor for the Football Conference is on. Indeed, the Football League does not have a headline sponsor for next season. Undoubtedly a sponsor will be found in both cases: the real question is how much they are prepared to pay.