Rumours abound concerning the sale of the rights to screen Premier
League TV and - as the crew at Sky will tell you - there are few more
poignant issues for a TV salesman.
But it looks certain that TV companies will not be the only ones
throwing absurd amounts of money at the country’s football clubs.
Several big online organisations are believed to be interested in
bidding and, given that the rights look likely to be divided between
numerous online and offline organisations, the likes of Freeserve might
well land some form of rights.
This raises the spectre of certain Premiership matches being screened
online. Have you ever attempted to watch one of those stuttering
internet feeds? When I was stuck in football-less New York, I tried on
several occasions and they are truly unwatchable. Although the
technology has improved - and convergence will boost the potential for
using net technology to show games or highlights - it would surely be a
backward step for online companies to buy rights to games that they
can’t screen properly.
Online ad directors are understandably excited about the prospect of
selling against Premiership content, but they should warn their bosses
against trying to sell on a duff product. Even if they are only offering
online screenings to complement satellite or cable feeds, it would
damage their brands to attempt coverage that they cannot yet deliver.