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Frustration With License Rights to Football Commentaries

bbc five live Frustration With License Rights to Football Commentaries
The football authorities need to re-evaluate the way that license rights are managed for football matches. Case in point, I was listening to BBC Radio Five Live this week and wanted to hear the live commentary of the England v Italy U-21 international.

After getting excited about the pre-match buildup on the radio, my hopes were dashed when I heard the words that most overseas soccer listeners dread to hear. Listen to the audio message here.

It’s perposterous to think that someone owns the rights to the Internet audio of this match in the United States. Who would own it and who would care if the BBC went ahead and played the live commentary? I realize that BBC is going by the book to prevent the chance of being sued by someone who does own the rights, but can’t some common sense be used?

I totally understand why matches such as the Premier League, Champions League and England full-internationals need to be blocked, but come on, why block an England under-21 international? How many people in America would even bother listening to this match, like me?

Even if someone in the United States did own the Internet audio rights to broadcast the commentary of the England under-21 international, there’s no way to conveniently find out who that would be and how I could listen to it.

For those of you who are outside the United States, I’m curious to know whether American broadcasters block you from listening to sports commentaries from the U.S. — whether it be soccer, basketball, American football or any other sport?


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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