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With football being such a lucrative business, foreign markets are being prioritized over the UK
Saturday Afternoon. El Clasico. Barcelona vs Real Madrid.
It’s a clash of titanic proportions, drawing in an estimated audience of 500 million watching live across the globe – everywhere except the UK.
How can the highest profile game in world football not be televised in the spiritual home and football obsessed nations of the UK? The simple answer is that football is being sold to the highest bidder.
The decision was made by Spanish league president Javier Tebas to televise the match at 3:15 UK time, making it illegal to broadcast the match on UK TV due to the FA’s regulations prohibiting any live matches being shown between 2:45 and 5:15 on a Saturday.
It forced millions (myself included) across the UK to illegally search for an online stream of the game so as not to miss out the most eagerly anticipated contest between the superstars of world football.
Hardly the desired effect organisers and broadcasters were hoping for, quite the opposite in fact.
The call was made suit the preferences of the highly lucrative and growing American and Asian markets with Tebas admitting “Our international sales have tripled because of that”
“6pm is too late in Asia while to play at 1pm is too early for the American market”
It’s disappointing that financial interests are denying fans the chance to watch the best players play against each other but with football television rights being such a lucrative commodity, it would be naïve to believe money wouldn’t take precedent above all else.
However, it does set a worrying trend that could lead to more games being restricted by paywalls, timings and foreign interests meaning more fans missing out on the games that matter most.
It appears the beautiful game has been made to look ugly by the greed of corporate influence.