Reader Comments (16)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 13/05/2021 at 13:12:54
Given the massive uncertainty in future football finances that has featured as a dominant theme in the esteemed works of Mr Paul Esk we have pubished on this website, the continuity inherent in this deal must be seen as a remarkable stabilizing factor covering a major part of most clubs' revenue streams in the short- to medium-term.

It also must mean that, once we are hopefully past Covid, the unique period of blanket TV coverage we are now 'enjoying' will end, and fans wanting to watch the excluded games will once again be reduced to illegal streams from dubious and often malicious internet purveyors.

Presumably, this TV deal contains no provision for clubs to broadcast games to their own fans, via closed subscription services, which should really be the way forward for clubs to make money from this illicit drug, as well as to stamp out the pedallers and their incredibly irritating websites.

Yes, I'm talking mainly from self-interest here as I rely heavily on the live domestic TV coverage of games and – although it will be fantastic to have the fans back inside the grounds once again – the reversion to crappy streams for the majority of Everton games will be a problem for me.

Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 13/05/2021 at 13:26:13
It's a bit like Prohibition, Michael: crooks are making millions off ads on these illegal streams. The argument that small clubs could lose fans to people watching big teams on TV may be true but, if it is true, it's already happening... so they may as well change the set-up and cut out the internet crooks.
Barry Hesketh
3 Posted 13/05/2021 at 13:51:26
Apparently, we'll have a greater number of matches kicking off on a Saturday evening, as the 'big' clubs don't like the early Saturday lunchtime starts, particularly following a midweek European game.

I'm not fond of Saturday lunchtime kick-offs either but I absolutely abhor the Saturday evening kick-offs as that means public transport to where I reside is a nightmare of buses, trains, and taxis. For those that travel away, it's even more of a trial, leaving London or some other distant place after 10 pm is not a pleasant experience.

Then there is the issue of juggling time off work when it clashes with a match, possibly having to give up a half-day holiday in order to attend a game at the behest of the TV schedules.

The TV money is obviously a major part of a club's finances but the ordinary match-going supporter gets nothing out of it, save the hassle of regularly re-arranging their schedules in order to attend their favorite past-time.

Michael Kenrick
4 Posted 13/05/2021 at 14:03:34
Exactly, Kieran.

Definitely the other side of the coin there, Barry. A match-goer speaks out.

3 pm on a Saturday was indeed and will always be the perfect time to watch footy in the flesh.

But if numbers matter, then those wanting to watch online (let's keep this to just in the UK) will significantly outnumber those attending home games (in normal times), and overwhelmingly so for away games.

But didn't they make the games in the Italian League all available on TV? And didn't that heavily impact attendances? Going by vague memory of old posts on here... sorry.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 13/05/2021 at 14:34:03
The difference in posts one and post three shows me where football is really at right now. Michael K would prefer to pay to watch his team with a reliable network, whilst Barry H would prefer to go to the stadium and watch his team at a reliable time.

Who is mightier, the fan who subscribes to the television companies, or the man who subscribes to watching football at the ground?

We all have our own personal choice, except for those who are hindered by geography, but watching football on TV is a massive part of the modern game, even though it's been proven to many, that football is nothing without the fans.

I'd say the game, or more importantly, the clubs need both, and therefore should look at the fixtures a little bit better in future, with regards to helping the passionate traveling supporters who help to make the game so great, especially in the next few years after this pandemic.

John McFarlane Snr
6 Posted 13/05/2021 at 14:46:44
Hi Tony [5] a powerful statement, which I agree with entirely.
Rob Halligan
7 Posted 13/05/2021 at 15:14:16
Television rules the roost as far as football is concerned.

Does anyone remember an away game we had at Brighton a couple of years ago? This game was moved to a Sunday early afternoon kick-off, either 13:00 or 13:30, I can't remember, but was moved to be shown live on TV, in India!!

The game was not broadcast live in this country but, because some TV deal had been agreed, we had to be at Goodison at about 4:30am on the Sunday morning for the coach down to Brighton, which I think left around 5am.

I've been to away games on a Monday night to places like Norwich and Southampton, because they were shown live on TV. Two games which clearly require two days off work. Television clearly has no consideration whatsoever for the fans.

Chris Williams
8 Posted 13/05/2021 at 15:27:09

I think the ESL proposal puts that priority into stark perspective!

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 13/05/2021 at 15:36:47
That's why I posted that, Chris, because although it's obvious that television pays the money nowadays. I just think if the matchgoing fan was to become disillusioned, then this would dilute the spectacle, so why don't they work together for the long-term benefit of the game?

The Twenty is Plenty campaign, which ended up with reduced away fans who still had to pay 㿊, is just one example

John McFarlane Snr
10 Posted 13/05/2021 at 15:37:13
Hi Rob, [7],

I was mocked on this site a while ago for quoting that the TV companies were catering for the worldwide audience (fans?). My days of travelling to away games are in the distant past, but I take my hat off to fans like yourself who endure the restrictions created by the television coverage.

I also stated that I sympathised with anyone who, for whatever reason, was denied the opportunity of watching games. It appears that the match-going supporter is low down on the list of priorities

Jay Wood

11 Posted 13/05/2021 at 15:49:19
This rollover of the existing TV contract was mooted a couple of weeks ago and now has been firmed up.

Paul the Esk has been a bit Doomsday on this, harnessed to the very brief threat of the ESL breakaway, as being potentially terminal for many clubs, including Everton.

I've always taken a more upbeat view. Taking Sky as an example in their early days it was total crap. Awful content, re-runs of 1960s US sit-coms and not a lot else besides.

It was floundering and in danger of going under.

Then they found the magic ingredient. Live sport, accessible by subscription only. Satellite broadcasters the world over follow the same formula and have built up multi-channel stations kept fed by live sport, replays of recent live sport and discussion forums.

They need the subscriptions. They need the paid advertising even more. Without both, their model fails.

Without live sport, they have a helluva lot of hours to fill, 'cos nobody is going to subscribe to and advertise on a channel churning out endless replays of historic sporting events.

It's a symbiotic relationship and, in the main, fans are happy with it because they can access top-quality sports coverage as well as seeing their clubs bring in top dollar, which they wouldn't otherwise have, to purchase new players.

That's why I never feared the leaving of the Soiled Six if it came to it. Be it live match spectators or sofa spectators, football retains a huge following in the UK. The 14 minus the Soiled Six would still be a huge draw.

Even the Championship attracts the 3rd highest aggregate match attending fans in the whole of Europe, behind only the Premier League and the Bundesliga, outperforming the likes of Spain, Italy and France year on year.

Look how quickly the Soiled Six came to heel following the adverse reaction to their intentions. Look how Uefa are considering further punishment to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus for their refusal to renounce the ESL. Look how Juventus are in very real danger of being excluded from Serie A next month if they continue to refuse to renounce ESL. Like Juve, the finances of the two Spanish giants are screwed.

The Dirty Dozen wanted to instigate a seismic shift in the football pyramid. They may well have achieved it, but not in the way they envisaged.

Chris Williams
12 Posted 13/05/2021 at 15:58:17
Agreed Tony.
Eddie Dunn
13 Posted 13/05/2021 at 16:09:19
It is a snapshot of what football has become.

I now watch my footy on my computer or on TV. I have BT Sport and Amazon Prime but not Sky, so like Michael, I need to rely on the likes of Hesgoal and their ilk.

In my past, I went to Goodison regularly and travelled far and wide watching my heroes. Today, we have players and a manager earning crazy money, funded by TV.

The match-going fan of a Premier League club is only of marginal use and I noticed recently how the pretend crowd noises have become more sophisticated (I always watch an alternative feed without it, where possible). The TV bosses must have wondered if they could produce a product without those pesky fans' involvement.

It seems that our clubs have been taken from us, the game we remember has changed. The quality might be better, the players may be more athletic, but I resent the way that the clubs are cash cows for greedy players and agents. Goodison Park has been neglected for years before the current new stadium was arranged.

The TV companies are paying too much. Sky and BT are charging too much. The players cost too much, and in "posh" cities season tickets are over-priced. The match-going fans are way down the list of modern priorities.

Kieran Kinsella
14 Posted 13/05/2021 at 16:16:09
Good post from Jay, I would also say there is a symbiotic relationship between the Rob Halligan matchday fans and the TV audience in Malaysia, India etc. Without the TV money, Premier League clubs couldn't attract world class players everyone wants to watch. We'd be like the league in Poland or Turkey with passionate fans in derelict old grounds watching mediocre players.

The TV revenue also helps clubs build fancy new stadiums that provide more comfort, with fewer restricted-view seats for the matchday fans. At the same time, as we've seen this last year, the TV spectacle is not the same without the match-day fans. No-one likes canned cheering and looking at empty seats. You can't have one without the other.

I'd also follow up on Tony's and Michael's points and divide the TV crowd into two groups. You get displaced Evertonians living all over the world who want to watch the club avidly. They're the ones who would pay subscriptions to the club. Basically, many of the people on here fall into that group. They're distinct from the casual fans who just want to watch any and every team as entertainment.

Personally, I don't have an expectation or desire for the Premier League to cater games to my prime time TV watching schedule based on Central US time. But I grew up in the era where I'd be sneaking to the break room, listening to snippets of Radio Two coverage, so TV games even at inopportune times are an upgrade for remote supporting.

I do think they should be respectful of the travel logistics of matchday fans, crack of dawn or late night games at the other end of the country are ridiculous.

Phill Thompson
15 Posted 13/05/2021 at 16:45:08
Kieran, as one of the ‘displaced Evertonians' who can't get to matches, I've enjoyed watching every game in the past 13 months or so. But before Covid, I'd given up on dodgy streams at 3 o'clock in favour of going down to my local non-league club 5 mins away, standing on the terrace with my mates and having a Bovril and a pie!

My expenditurce on all things Everton is modest compared to the regulars who go home and away, so I'd happily pay for a “Club stream” of matches. But fans at live matches is part of our tradition and I'd also happily shrug my shoulders if the priority was to cater for our fans who attend games rather than TV networks... as long as I still have my Bovril and a pie when normality returns!

Dale Self
16 Posted 13/05/2021 at 17:02:37
I'll give this a quick kick about but it is almost game time.

First, nice setup and initial takes by Michael and others. This tradeoff between audiences is certainly where the action is these days. The suggestion of club subscription based delivery is brilliant – so sure to be bypassed. And thanks to Paul the Esk for inspiring everyone to get informed for the discussion of how to access these new audiences without sacrificing the incumbent supporters.

And while we are getting the contract uncertainty out of the way, there is some shrinkage and with that will come some demand grabbing by the big boys.

There has been something that I've noticed in the broadcast and stream environment that has me curious. When the US TV schedule is disrupted by moving games involving premium clubs to Peacock streams, leaving gaps in the broadcast games, it seems they are trying to identify how much demand is there for the big clubs as opposed to demand for specific clubs and neutrals.

This whole period of disruption and exploration of alternatives has allowed the most capitalized clubs to better understand their clientele. This is being somewhat aided by those who benefit from their success in growing international audiences beyond their local and loyal fanbase that got them there. The rest of us are left to figure it out and keep things reasonable. May the football gods help us.

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