The dawn of a new technological age?
This weekend’s England football international will be broadcast exclusively live over the internet for the first time, it emerged today.
The move follows the collapse of pay-TV platform Setanta earlier this year, which had been due to broadcast the World Cup qualifier.
International football agency Kentaro had sold the broadcast rights of the fixture to Setanta, and after the collapse failed to agree rights offers with any of the more traditional broadcasters such as BBC, ITV and Five.
Perform’s executive chairman, Andrew Croker told the BBC: “The world is changing…this is a classic example of it.
“It’s exciting. Anyone who wants to come on a journey with us should sign up – they will enjoy it.”
The cost of watching the game was being advertised today on one national newspaper as £4.99, if viewers “signed up early”.
Peter Silverstone, managing director of Kentaro, told the BBC that a maximum of one million subscribers would be taken for the match.
This is the “safe number to stop at to ensure the optimal broadcast”, he said.
Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will be part of the studio line-up, he added, with a “top commentary team”.
Mr Silverstone said: “You will watch as you would any other streaming on the internet, like YouTube or the BBC iPlayer – there will be a pop-up player that will show the match in a very good quality stream.
“We have a huge marketing effort behind us with the various newspaper groups that will promote the match on their websites.
England have already qualified for the 2010 World Cup, winning all eight of their group matches.
Football Association spokesman Adrian Bevington told the broadcaster that his organisation “would obviously like to see the game broadcast to as many people as possible”.
“These are the rights of the Ukrainian FA and the agents they’ve appointed to sell them,” he said.
“A traditional TV platform would be ideal to broadcast the game but it’s not the case. It’s not in our control.” (Independent)
I don’t doubt that the broadcasting of matches live on the internet may well catch on and is of course happening anyway, albeit in potentially illegal ways, but the fact that the first example of this ‘revolution’ comes in the shape of a truly pointless encounter doesn’t bode well.
They are hoping that one million people pay up for the match but I would be hugely surprised if they get anywhere near that number given that England are already safely through to the World Cup.
If anyone has paid up for this service we would like to hear from you both pre and post match so you can let us know how it went. Sven being part of the commentating panel doesn’t strike me as a great addition given the charisma free nature of the Swede.