BT looking to sell
The landscape of football broadcasting in the UK has changed a lot over the last couple of decades.
From nostalgic live broadcasts on terrestrial television, football has taken a very different direction through companies such as Sky and BT.
The finances of the sport have benefited hugely from the acquisition of television rights. Customers paying a monthly subscription to watch their favourite teams and players has led to a huge increase in revenue for clubs in the UK, to the envy of those on the continent.
However, across the last couple of years, the encroachment of streaming services on football in the UK has become a reality.
Amazon bought the rights to stream a number of games this season, taking advantage of the pandemic’s impact on the game.
Further financial impact stemming from the pandemic has led BT to rethink its stance regarding the sports broadcasting side of the company.
According to the Financial Times, BT is now in talks with a number of companies about selling its sports broadcasting business.
Amazon, along with Disney, who own ESPN, and DAZN, are all supposed interested parties, but have so far made no comment.
What supporters will be concerned about is the prospect of increased online streaming of matches, over television broadcasts.
Whilst it is yet to be confirmed whether or not the sale of BT’s broadcasting business would include the television channels from which they show matches and programs, the worry is that the companies named as being interested have had great success from online streaming.
What some have found whilst using Amazon’s streaming service is that the strength of their internet connection has had a major impact on the quality of the picture they are consuming. Whereas previously, their cable or satellite signal would provide uninterrupted coverage.
Many complained to Amazon on social media about buffering and poor connection quality throughout their broadcasted games over the last couple of years:
— Leon Oakes (@LeonOakesOffic) December 4, 2019
— Richard Knight 💙 (@Rich_Knight91) December 28, 2020
Concerns have also been aired regarding prices, considering the £14.95-per-match fee which was placed on some games earlier this season.
£14.95 to watch a game on pay per view is disgraceful. £5, ok, but £14.95? It’s disgusting. At a time when PL clubs spent £1.2bn on players. When they’ll give agents £200m. When so many families are struggling. The creed of greed is in @premierleague DNA but this truly stinks.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) October 9, 2020
Fans could quickly grow frustrated, should their streams have either connectivity or buffering issues.
The possibility that a television channel could be used by whomever purchases the rights from BT exists, but is not guaranteed. Studios are already in place, and there is no shortage of presenters and pundits looking for work.
Whatever happens, a new age of football broadcasting is ready to take hold of the UK.
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