In the midst of the rival terrestrial TV channels perhaps astonishingly joining hands to protect those of us who refuse, or simply cannot afford to pay the continuously heightening fees associated with subscription broadcasters, the question must surely be addressed, ‘Are we to see the terrestrial giants joining together over the rights to air multiple sporting disciplines?’
Or is it just a matter of time before subscription giants such as SKY and BT flex their financial muscle and remove the remaining ‘crown jewel’ events from our free to air screens?
Major sporting events – the so called ‘crown jewel’ events – such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup cannot be wiped away from free to air television at the current time.
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However, what the Six Nations bosses will be keen for Rugby fans across the northern hemisphere to overlook is that they were in fact some of the leading individuals seeking to attract the big paying broadcasters, to some extent replicating the approach of the England Cricket Board (ECB) in their eagerness to cooperate with SKY and enjoy the financial profit that goes hand in hand with the off pitch relationship.
With the actions of the ECB and the Six Nations organisers in mind and so soon after a record pay out to the Premier League for future viewing rights of both live matches and well known weekend highlight shows, it may well appear only a matter of time before these most iconic of sporting events simply become out of the reach of an excessive percentage of the British public.
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With participation figures plummeting in multiple sports, should we be continuing to focus the blame on wavering results of our elite athletes who just aren’t becoming role models like those who have previously past our screens?
Should we instead be looking at the reduced opportunity for young and old to watch these athletes, to gain inspiration?
A final thought must be turned at this stage to this Summers FIFA Women’s World Cup and the heroic performers shown by our endearingly labelled ‘Lionesses’.
Attendances across the Women’s Super League were recently proven to have rocketed as a result of our side’s performance in Canada and the fact that millions more people were able to watch the tournament, as a result of the scarce television licensing fee, may have had a role to play in that as well.
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