I was flicking through my Twitter feed this evening when I came across a tweet from an unknown Portsmouth fan, delighted that his team had managed to score a goal. I laughed, because my first thought was for the days I watched the Premiership via Aertel’s page 221. How times have changed!
Will the football supporters of future ever comprehend a time when you just didn’t see the big matches live on TV? You had to hang on for Match of the Day or some other highlights programme and if, like me, you lived in the country, it was Aertel and newspaper reports. Remember, this was pre-Internet!
The advent of Sky Sports meant going to the pub for bigger games as my family didn’t get a satellite dish until much later on. When eventually we did subscribe, events like Christmas, New Year’s and even Easter became all about the football fixtures rather than looking forward to one big match at the weekend.
Social Media has moved things on again. As Sky and ESPN battle to retain viewers with pitch side commentary teams, 3D coverage and fancy graphics, most of us now watch football with Smart Phone in hand – becoming pundits in our fashion and offering our own thoughts on just about everything.
And yet, there’s nothing like seeing sport in the flesh. No television coverage can substitute for not being at these events. No microphone will ever fully capture an atmosphere, a chant or a funny retort. Here, too, Social Media has had an impact as fans tweet about real life experiences in a way never shared before.
Television coverage has changed football forever by making it an attractive, wealthy sport at the very top level. However, as information is shared quicker and faster than ever, broadcasters will struggle to maintain value of their most prized assets (television rights) and where will that leave the game in the future?
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