Happy Birthday Sky Sports – but is it a sinner or a winner?

I'd love it if Sky Sports carried on for another 20 years...I'd Love It!

I woke up to Absolute Radio this morning to be reminded that, 20 years ago today, a revolution happened in sport….oh, and the M1 was still stuffed!
The station was broadcasting from the Soccer AM studios to mark the birthday of Sky Sports. The M1 was closed that day as well. The birth of a sporting revolution maybe, but plus ca change on the road front!
But I think it is right that we say Happy Birthday to the channel. After all, it has played such a big role in world sport and world broadcasting over that long time. It created the Premier League, Super League Rugby and 20/20 cricket. It brought us HD sport and now 3D sport.
But, there will be people who lay the blame of the malaise of the smaller clubs at Sky Sports’ door –claiming the money they invested at the top end of the game damaged the bottom end. ITV has certainly lost out to Sky over the years and some in that company would claim Sky Sports have a monopoly that is now unbreakable – and we are the poorer for it.
So, over to you – are we better or worse off for the birth of Sky Sports? Let me know what you think below or let us know your favourite moment from its life.

Danny Gabbidon in F-Word Twitter rant – who is to blame?

West Ham United’s Danny Gabbidon could be facing a fine after launching a four-letter attack on the club’s fans following abusive messages HE recieved on the social network.

After he recieved a series of verbal attacks following his poor performance in their game on Satuday, Gabbidon posted this to his Twitter profile..

U know what f*** the lot of of you u will never get another tweet from me again u just don’t get it do you. Bye bye.”

He is likely to get into trouble for the comment. Let’s face it,  It’s not the done thing for a Premier League player to be swearing on a social network often frequented by kids.

But, let us ask the bigger question here. Is Danny Gabbidon REALLY TO BLAME  for acting this way? I haven’t seen all of the comments sent to him, but I would suggest they are extremely aggresive in nature to warrant a response which included the F-Word.

Which then leads me to the question What is West Ham United doing about this? Would they do nothing if this abuse was hurled at him while he was on the pitch? The answer is quite clearly ‘no’, who why isn’t there any process in place to supoprt players when they get this sort of verbal abuse through social networks.

Let me be clear, I don’t blame West Ham United solely for this. This just shows a common lack of understanding football clubs have about the immediacy and power of Twitter. But clubs need to get a grasp of this asap to protect their players.

Because the irony is that the only person who will probably come out of this worse off will be the very person who is being verbally abused – in this case, Danny Gabbidon.

I’m a Digital Media specialist. So here is some free advice to West Ham, the PFA and other clubs about how I would handle this situation if I were in their shoes.

Club – Either have your club social media team/press officer on Standby 24 hours after every match to deal with direct criticism (because if anyone is going to be nasty to a player on Twitter, it will happen within 24 hours)  or train your players in the do’s and don’ts of Social Media – it should be part of the overall education and support they recieve from you

PFA – If the clubs are not going to offer this support and education about social media – then why aren’t you?

Player – When you get to the point where you feel you are going to fire off a four-letter tweet, put your phone down and paint the fence. Then come back to your phone, make a note of all the extremely offensive Tweets and the usernames and either re-tweet them or report them to Twitter (or police if it is racist, threatening etc)

Sky plays a blinder -again

The new £195M deal between Sky Sports and the Football League would make any club manager grin with glee.
For not only does it return Football League broadcast revenues to ITV Digital days (but arguably on a much stronger footing), but it turns out to be one of the best deals Sky has ever achieved with the League.
However, that is not so great for those fans still refusing to pay the Murdoch shilling, as there will be less live League and Carling Cup football on free-to-air television as of 2012.
Maybe we have led a charmed life of late with the current BBC deal bringing the Carling Cup back to the free airwaves for the first time in donkeys years.
But,that is to be no more with the next agreement handing exclusive live rights to both legs of the Semi Finals to the satellite broadcaster.
It means there’ll be little crumbs of comfort left for either the BBC or ITV, who are rumoured to be going for the free-to-air highlights packages. And the question will be – will the value of those rights suffer because of the lack of live football contained within that package?
However, let us remember that the financial security of clubs is paramount and the Football League has secured a 135% rise in the value of UK TV rights deals in a decade. So, you can see why they should be praised by achieving this deal.
But, it does take more live football off free-to-air television and raises a question which is becoming more pertenent by the second.
Should we give up on the notion of having any free football on the TV?