That is, ‘hurray!’ if you can watch it. I took my daughter to a match at Derwent Park in Workington. Other than an organisational glitch that meant we struggled to get to our place in the stand, it was fantastic! More on that later.
No, the problem that I have with this and all other major sporting events in the UK is that I can’t watch it, unless I can get to the grounds which is hard as a single parent with little money and the constraints of having to get my daughter to school in a state fit to learn. Millions of people in the UK can’t watch it at all.
If you’re outside the UK you may be confused by this. Let me explain. Sky TV has a huge monopoly in terms of sport viewing in this country. It is virtually impossible to tell how many homes in the UK can afford the £21 to £70 monthly Sky subscription. Sky itself claims to have over 10.5 million customers but the company is happy to take multiple subscriptions from the same address, since overseas customers can register their account to a UK address. The maximum number of UK viewers will be around 24 million (UK average of 2.3 per household times 10.5 million) but for the reason I have cited, this is likely to be way too high.
We can safely say that less than 40% have sky. Of those, since the average subscription is £31.53, much less than the amount needed for Sky sports, maybe 1 in 5 or fewer can watch the world cup in its entirety on Sky. The BBC is only showing games on Saturday. These are largely England games. There are few programmes on the BBC that show highlights and these are in the early hours of the morning.
Why am I complaining and what am I moaning about? Well, more and more, our country cannot watch big sporting events. The BBC is not entirely blameless in this. It generates over £3.6 billion of revenue from licenses, compared to Sky’s £4 billion. So why does Sky get exclusivity with regard to sport? The BBC must be grossly inefficient.
My complaint does not end there. The Rugby League are compliant in this. They have clearly accepted the highest bid, even though that excludes their premiere event from 80% of the UK public. Do they really hope to grow the sport in this country by cutting out so many potential rugby league fans and players?
The Scotland team were fantastic on Tuesday. They gave us a highly entertaining game, along with Tonga. I was saddened that the Tongan team sloped off to the changing room after the game, despite the fact that they had supporters in the ground who had travelled half-way around the world to watch them, but Scotland did not. My daughter was thrilled that they came around giving high-fives to the kids after the game. Well done Scotland! It’s just a pity for you and your fans that your fantastic behaviour went almost totally unnoticed by the UK population. You deserve better and so does the public. When will we ever get this sort of capitalist scourge expunged from our society?
Come on everybody: Sky is greedy, we all know that. It seems that the Rugby League in the UK is just as short-sighted. Maybe David Oxley, the RFL president should go to Specsavers for some new glasses?
Let’s hear from you, David. Why are you so greedy and narrow-minded? Let us know.