For once, the Brits know how it feels to be American. That is, they know how difficult it is to watch England play football on TV.
With the TV rights for England in Britain going to Setanta Sports, most Englanders didn’t see the two nil win against Andorra on Saturday. The same will apply to the essential England match against Croatia, which is again available only on Setanta in the UK.
In the United States, it’s always been difficult to see meaningful England games on television. Last Saturday’s debacle against Andorra was only available on pay-per-view (for $25), in pubs showing Setanta (for a $20 cover charge) and on Setanta Broadband (if you have an annual contract for $150).
If you live in the States, Wednesday’s match against Croatia is available again on pay-per-view or in pubs that show the Setanta pub channel.
Or, of course, there’s half a dozen illegal ways to watch the match. In England, Setanta’s unwillingness to provide highlights of the Croatia against England match is only going to increase the demand for ways to watch it illegally — streams, P2P players and a ton of video sites.
The same thing applies to football fans in America. It’s bloody 2008. Forcing fans to pay $25 to watch one match is archaic. Very few fans are willing to spend that much cash when international matches are becoming less exciting than club football.