No Agreement Between The BSP & ESPN


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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15 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Well I’m pleased. Setanta messed about with the published fixture list and some fans who purchased a season ticket found they couldn’t attend the rearranged fixture. My own club went a couple of months without a home match on a Saturday. Good riddance to them. OK all clubs lost money but it was a levellling of the playing field with the clubs that featured most like Oxford losing more revenue.

  2. WAOU says:

    ‘Setanta were roundly (and rightly) praised for their BSP television coverage. It was fresh, innovative and covered the league in detail, on its own terms and without patronising it.’

    Really? It certainly didn’t feel like that at the time:

  3. Jertzee says:

    As a fan of a Conference club I am not too concerned. No messing about with my Saturday for a start.

    But let’s be realistic, as opposed to the Conference board who obviously weren’t , it’s a pretty poor product for the money Setanta paid, and the Conf board hoped ESPN would too.

    It’s Level 5 football, plain and simple, and just because we like it (because our clubs are in that division), I can’t see many flocking to watch Hayes & Yeading vs Forest Green Rovers on a Thursday, in person OR on TV.

    I think the Conf board are as deluded about their product as the Ryman League with Alan Turvey and his streaming webcasts.

  4. Martin says:

    Hardly surprising news. Setanta’s speculative business model was probably a one-off. Do any other countries regularly televise division 5 or equivalent football? I very much doubt it. Back to the real world.

  5. ejh says:

    Well up to a point Martin, but it may also be true that no other country in the world has a fifth tier which inspires such interest. It’s something pretty special to English football, I think.

    That’s not to say the audience is that big for it, nor to deny that – in general – the lower down the scale a game takes place, the more you really need to be present to enjoy it. But still, I doubt that you can go to any other country and regularly watch games in the fifth division whose spectators treat thme as if they were the most important game happening anywhere.

  6. Steve says:

    While the BSP is level five football, it is a division capable of crowds of 10,000 – so there is a potential audience, and there are comparable leagues (in terms of attendance, if nothing else) that have TV elsewhere. I’m sure that I read somewhere that the BSP games got better viewing figures than some of the Scottish Premier games shown.

    In terms of Sky and ESPN, the BSP isn’t a good ‘fit’, but a weekly programme could work on, say, ITV4 or somewhere. I guess it depends on the production costs of a simple set-up, but it could be a reasonably cheap way for a channel to add some more sports content.

    Streaming video could work if the production team worked within their limitations. A simple stream, maybe even commentator-less, might have an audience at the right price.

    Whether it could actually make any money is another matter though…

  7. No mention of the million quid that the Prem has just given the Conference? They now, arguably, don’t need the TV revenue as much and so can lower the year one price at least.

  8. Brenton says:

    Last season Ebbsfleet fans were able to watch some home matches streamed live overseas, and while the product wasn’t great quality, it’s better than nothing. I’m not sure the cost, but it was pretty low. MyFC licensed the rights from Setanta at about 1200 pounds per match, and added our own commentators. We had hoped that donations from overseas fans would pay for the cost but fell wuite short. I know this wouldn’t have work with English fans because of the licensing issues (black-outs on game day), but we did look into the issue of doing it all ourselves, and while the required input from volunteers was quite high, it could be done. If the BSP allowed the broadcast, the cost would be low, and a fee could be paid to the BSP for the licensing. Or something like that. Not my area of expertise, obviously.

  9. Jertzee says:

    Damon – the £1m (ooh, how can they afford it!!!) will hardly compensate for the Setanta money. £80k + money from matches against £25k. A massive shortfall still and I doubt even at 30% discount there would be any takers for the package.

    Bottom line is that the money is irrelevant – clubs shouldn’t have spent what they didn’t have, and especially as it was fairly common knowledge that Setanta were struggling a year ao.

  10. Martin says:

    Our level 5 may be more attractive than other countries but I think some of you are quite naive and biased about its competitiveness and attractiveness as a commercial proposition.

  11. Ben says:

    I’m sure i read last season that the Conference viewing figures actually compared quite well with the Scottish football which Setanta also covered and ESPN have now picked up.

    I think Setanta actually marketed the league quite well with its “real football” advertising. The Conference is a nice antidote for those who don’t wet themselves at the thought of yet another Man U v Chelsea toss up for the Premiership…

    It’s a real shame that this deal didn’t go through and you have to wonder whether the Conference authorities who have shown themselves to be thoroughly incompetent in the past have blown it again here by trying to get too much money…

  12. ejh says:

    Bob Hope observed that it was a shame that the people who could best run the country were all driving taxis, and one may make the same observation about television deals and people on the internet.

  13. Sean of the Shed says:

    I can’t see many flocking to watch Hayes & Yeading vs Forest Green Rovers on a Thursday, in person OR on TV.
    This is an often repeated argument and holds no water. No TV channel would select this match for live broadcast. If Hayes or FGR had their own TV stations, THEY probably wouldn’t select this match. Channels select matches with the broadest appeal, and there are some appeaing clubs in this division. It may be a niche market, but it still has more potential(in Britain anyway) than other niche sports like ice hockey and basketball. The Setanta deal was an awesome deal, but the amount they shelled out was disproportionate to the value of the product. ESPN could see this and the Conference could and should have been able to come to some compromise

  1. September 16, 2009

    […] not interested in BSP Is this end end of BSP TV coverage? No Agreement Between The BSP & ESPN […]

  2. September 16, 2009

    […] weighs in on ESPN’s rejection of any deal to broadcast the Blue Square Premier League: “ESPN may or may not have been the ideal choice for the Football Conference, but now that any proposed deal with them would seem to be lies in tatters, it is critical that the next decision that they take over who broadcasts the Blue Square Premier – and where & how they broadcast it – is the right one.” […]

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