Do I really have to pay this much money for censorship, games I won’t watch, and people moaning?

By Tony Attwood

In a year’s time it will cost around £1000 a year to subscribe to the three “outlets” (what a ghastly word) that will divide up Arsenal matches on TV for UK watches: Sky Sprout, BT Moan and now Amazon.  I haven’t got a silly alternative name for Amazon Footie yet, but I am sure one will pop up sooner or later.  Something that involves asking me to comment on the delivery of a parcel which they tell me arrived yesterday but which I most certainly haven’t received.

Now as it happens I have already spent £1650 or so this year in renewing my Arsenal season ticket which gives me access to 26 games at the Arsenal Stadium, and the option of buying a ticket for any extra games played at the ground – for example if we get into long cup runs – or the FA Cup or League Cup final if Arsenal get there.  I’d be in the pot for the Europa, but so not guaranteed it hardly seems worth mentioning.

So put the package together and that would make around £2600 to watch Arsenal for a season.  Something like £45 a week for the season.  Rather a lot of dosh.

But it is worse than this, because although I could watch the TV with the sound turned down, if I ever mistakenly turned it up, all I would hear about Arsenal would be moan, moan, moan about the players we didn’t sign, the awfulness of the players we did get, and how Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, Man C and of course the Tiny Totts have done so much better than we have of late both on the pitch, and in signings.

And it is worse again because I would know that what I heard and watched would be censored.   The firms bidding for TV rights have to sign up to a set of broadcasting “standards” which are getting more stringent all the time.  These include

a) If there is any crowd trouble or an “incident” they must not show it.

b) There must be nothing more than very minor commentaries about referees, to the effect that the referee might have made a individual mistake but no suggestion that the mistake might have been part of a catalogue of errors

c) There will be “expert summarisers” nattering away who, instead of interestingly pointing out tactical changes or repeated violence by defenders, or referee or linesmen errors, will by and large talk about how awful Arsenal are.

And then of course there is the clash.  I am paying for Arsenal home games – which I will be at – so much of my subscription is wasted.  It might be £1000 for 26 Arsenal games, or whatever they are going to show on TV, but I will be at the ground for the home games, so that now works out at £1000 for say 13 of those which is not really a fun way of spending my money.

Going to the home games is certainly something I don’t want to miss.  I enjoy the occasions – ok not so much when we lose, but we didn’t lose at home very much last season (I can only remember two such events in the league).  I enjoy the travel with friends, meeting up at the Swimmer – the public house to which a little group of us give our patronage before the games – and so forth.

And this brings up another thing that makes matters even worse: the way TV changes the dates around, often at very short notice, for games that I am going to watch.   Plans have to be scuppered and amended.  Train tickets thrown away and new ones purchased…

And even then we are still not at the end of the problems, because I’ll not only miss some of the games for which I have paid because I am on holiday, the chances are I won’t be able to watch them because the country I am in does not have Arsenal on their TV channels.

Yes when I was in Cyprus last autumn I got the two games we played while I was there, (although after a lot of meandering around the streets looking for a bar that was showing Arsenal, and not any of the other teams playing that night) but in Australia (where I go to visit my youngest daughter) there is no chance of seeing the games.    (In fact when I did a tour of bars three years ago asking if they opened early in the morning to show Champions League games, the only thing I was offered was a sexual encounter of the kind that I was certainly not minded to accept.  In retrospect it was funny, but at the time it involved a lot of very quick walking to another part of town and the abandonment of a very expensive glass of wine).

Now of course football on TV works for a lot of people.  People who never go to games and who like to moan about Arsenal a lot, because a) they are not losing out on tickets bought and b) they must love the attitude of the “pundits” towards Arsenal.   (Pundit comes from the Sanskrit paṇḍita meaning ‘learned man.’  On that basis it is the most inappropriately used word in the English language).

But what about football on TV for people like me?   Yes it has changed somewhat because Sky now let me buy individual games at £7.99 which is a bit better.   Quite possible BT do the same.  That is a step in the right direction.  But couldn’t they do a discount for people like me who always turn the sound off so I don’t have to hear their anti-Arsenal propaganda?   50p a game for the censored vision only.  That sounds about right.



9 Replies to “Do I really have to pay this much money for censorship, games I won’t watch, and people moaning?”

  1. Tony

    People in Bosnia have a lot of problems with Premier League games due to unresolved issues about the broadcasting rights.

    My former cable operator had rights for Sport Klub 1 and 2. Premier League games were broadcasted at either or both of channels until 1st January 2014. After that, “Union Sport Media” that owns Sport Klub decided to give exclusive rights for Sport Klub to the company that is connected with them – “Telemach” – while breaching the fair competition regulations. Every year, Competition Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina orders “Sport Klub” Ltd to offer all cable operators in Bosnia their channels under the same conditions as they had offered them to “Telemach” and every year the fine is doubled (last time it was around 125k euros) but “Sport Klub” remain stubborn and don’t offer their Sport Klub channels to other cable operators.

    Now, if I want to watch Premier League games on my TV, I have to change my operator and/or buy a satelite dish.

  2. In Austrailia we had foxtel showing all premier league games until broadcasting rights came up, then a internet provider optus put in a massive bid and foxtel wouldnt out bid them. Now if we want to watch epl games we can subscribe to optus which from what ive heard is crap, we cant even listen on the radio anymore because of this deal. Im a big Arsenal fan but im not giving my money to optus. Now i just watch the live update on a couple of apps. SAD..

  3. Even if one has a satellite dish like I do have 4 of them in: Nilesat LNB, Eutelsat 9A LNB connected on the Strong 18 cm satellite dish, Intersat 27k LBN connected on 6 cm dish and Eutesat16A Strong 6 cm dish. But still, I cannot watch the Premier League matches, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League games and even international football matches like that of England vs Croatia yesterday night. I have to buy Dstv decorder and dish, then have them connected and subscribed to Dstv Compact boutique @ #6,300.00 per month before I can watch football matches and any other sporting event live or rebroadcast. Before the advent of the Dstv, we football lovers in Zaria town Nigeria were watching the PL games on ABG cable satellite after pay #1000.00 monthly subscription. But ABG is no longer existing in Zaria. So, I think a subscription to a cable satellite company is needed before football matches like the highly commercialized PL games can be watched.

  4. Mate I’m in Australia I pay $10 a week and can stream every PL games and 80% on can watch on demand. Perfect

  5. Through the Arsenal Player on you can get a live audio broadcast of all first team games home and away. This is free, you just need to sign up for it. You get a relatively complaint free commentary which is a wellcome change from the commercial broadcasters. There is a slight broadcast delay at least for me but it isn’t serious

    The same login also gets you full replays of every game, normally at midnight UK time following the game and these are then available for years. The footage is the commercial broadcast so you still get the first level of censorship that Tony has rightly commented on

    It is better than nothing and i rely on it for away games

    If you have to rely on a text commentary then the one on Arseblog is usually available if you can cope with the sometimes colourful language

  6. I don’t subscribe to any sports services now. I stopped subscribing to Sky Sports (and Sky Movies) a few years back after being made redundant and I never subscribed to BT Sports anyway. I do now get to view BT Sports on a mobile device for ‘free’ through my EE mobile phone subscription. I have an Amazon Prime subscription which I find is wonderful value. As I understand it the Amazon football deal is for a small number of games spread over two separate weekends to begin with. They are clearly dipping their toes into the water

  7. Just use AceStream and watch literally any mainstream football match for absolutely free. Always in HD, rarely buffers, and best of all, feels like you’re getting one over on those octopus-like broadcasting conglomerates. Perfect.

  8. To be honest, the whole lot are ripping the punters off. The Amazon TV stick helps a little while I’m in Blighty but I’m at the live home games anyway. While outside the UK I watch on Star for under a tenner a month. It gets tiring hunting the waves for broadcasts almost to the point where football is losing its charm, particularly when the PGMOL get their select people in.

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