Sports coverage needs to change in this country

One thing that I don’t like much is that we don’t have the best coverage of sports in this country. Well, at least not an extremely diverse and continuous selection of different sports. It seems like the only sport ever on consistently is football, and, while it’s a good sport and I like it sometimes, I’m more of a basketball fan and more recently I’ve been discovering baseball thanks to five’s late night coverage. Five really is the only way you can watch north american sports like NBA and MLB on a semi-consistent basis. The problem is that it’s only one or two games of the chosen sport per week. Now I can’t complain about the time the shows are on because time zones can’t be helped and they are american sports so why should they play games to suit the comparitively small NBA and MLB fanbase in the UK and other countries. Of course they shouldn’t and on that front it’s all fine.

But where are HD feeds of games on UK TV? And where are more live games each week. While one free game is nice and definitely worth celebrating, it’s no where near what the US has in terms of free access to sports. The sports monopoly in this country gobbling up seemingly the rights to every sport almost is Sky Sports. Sky Sports is an expensive package on-top of your standard package and to be honest isn’t worth paying for unless you really like football, which has been shown in that many people choose to unsubscribe to Sky Sports during the summer when there is no football on.

Now in the US, as far as I know, the main networks which show sports: ESPN, abc, NBC and TNT are all free channels. Plus local channels show games of the local team if they aren’t picked up on national TV. This is definitely something we need to get in this country because right now we have virtually nothing to shout about in terms of sports coverage, unless your talking about olympics coverage because the BBC has that down to a tee.

Finally, I just want to touch on the misery that is the BBL, our sorry excuse for a basketball league in this country. It’s really just extremely dissapointing to have a league that is really struggling in terms of TV audiences and really re-establishing itself from the glory days of several years back. It hasn’t had a team representing it in the ULEB cup this year and my local team hasn’t even been competing choosing instead to take a year out and come back next season. The worst part is the TV viewership and the astonishing fact that the league has signed an exclusive deal with a channel I’ve never heard of which can’t be a good idea. What makes it worse is that firstly they don’t carry this channel on anything other than sky which takes freeview, analogue and virgin customers out of the equasion and lowers their possible audience. I’m surprised no one else gave them an offer because I would imagine that at least one of the top four or five broadcasters would be interested in showing games from the league. Four not including sky sports because I don’t consider them to be one of the majors as they aren’t available on freeview or anything else without additional charges.

The second problem they have is that now they have signed an exclusive deal with the channel, they are stuck with that channel until that contract expires before they can go anywhere else, that is if anyone else is interested. The contract may be up at the end of this season or it may be longer. I hope it isn’t a long term deal and that a deal can be reached with the BBC or five soon.

In conclusion, I hope that sometime soon, we have a better array of sporting viewing as well as all other types of TV content, in HD where applicable and we have more free channels that show these programmes or at least provide high quality programming for as lower cost as possible, but until then I’ll be keeping tuned to five or recording things if I can’t be nocturnal.