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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Television and Broadcasting


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.

BT buys ESPN's sports channels

BT is buying ESPN's sports television channels in the UK and Ireland as it steps up its challenge to BSkyB in the pay-tv market.   Last June BT agreed to pay £738m for the rights to 38 Premier League matches including 18 'first picks'.   The move removed ESPN's status as the only rival to Sky and made the US company's withdrawal from the British market more likely.

BT interested in ESPN's football rights

BT is in discussions to acquire football rights from sports broadcaster ESPN as the Disney-owned channel explores an exit from the UK.   The rights that are available include matches from the Bundesliga, Europa League and FA Cup.   However, BSkyB is also interested.

News International buys Premiership mobile and web rights

News International, the publisher of The Times and The Sun has secured the near-live mobile and internet rights to 380 Premier League games per season unxder an exclusive three year deal.

It is the first time that a newspaper group has bought audio-visual rights for the Premiership which were previously shared by American broadcaster ESPN and internet company Yahoo!.   It is believed that News International bid more than the combined sum of £30m paid by ESPN and Yahoo! under the last deal.