Differences Explored Between BBC and Sky Sports
I had the fortune of watching the FA Cup tie between Manchester United against Portsmouth yesterday, not on pay-per-view but on BBC1. While the match was very entertaining, especially the first half, with United’s attack after attack descending on Portsmouth’s goal, I walked away from the match with a few interesting observations.It isn’t that often that I have the opportunity to watch top flight English football on the BBC. Of course, that’s because Sky currently owns the TV rights to the Premiership, while the BBC owns the rights to most of the FA Cup matches. What made yesterday extra special was being able to see the half-time analysis of the match by Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen, while enjoying the match commentary by John Motson and Mark Lawrenson (yes, I admit it, I enjoyed it).To me, the FA Cup symbolizes everything about the BBC. The BBC is the FA Cup, and the FA Cup the BBC. Let me explain.The experience of watching the FA Cup on the BBC seems antiquated. The tempo of the analysis is more moderate and subdued. The graphics and hype appear more civilized instead of unreal and inflated.Compare that to Sky’s production of the Premiership, and it’s night and day. While Sky has more energy and excitement pumped into its productions, it comes at the risk as appearing as too over-the-top where the lasting feeling is one of disappointment. As they say in the business world, our expectations were not managed.While I’m still a huge supporter of the FA Cup tournament, I found it particularly interesting that few football fans were interested in the matches being shown live on Fox Soccer Channel yesterday (Luton v Blackburn, and Spurs v Southend). I’m basing this on the barometer I use to determine how interested fans are in matches — by observing the number of people who visit the EPL Talk Chat to watch and chat with fans in real-time.While there was a small core audience of followers in the chat yesterday who were enthralled with the FA Cup, the number of people was far fewer than Premiership matches involving Man United and Arsenal, for example.Just as the FA Cup has lost its sheen, so too has the BBC. While both the tournament and broadcaster are respected by many, they seem like a lifetime away from the daily ups and downs of the English Premier League. Starting Tuesday, life will return to normal.