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Top 5 Ways to Make the Premier League TV and Internet Experience Better

 Top 5 Ways to Make the Premier League TV and Internet Experience Better

I still remember the day on October 2, 1983 when the first English top flight match on a Sunday was screened live on British television. The game between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest wasn’t memorable, but it was a turning point in the history of kick-off times for English football because the weekend monopoly of all games being played on a Saturday at 3pm GMT was finally broken.

Before that weekend there were hardly any live matches shown on British television other than the infrequent midweek game or a big cup final, which would happen once a year. Instead, a typical Saturday afternoon was spent watching a 3pm game in-person at a cold and wet ground somewhere in the United Kingdom. Then several hours later, it seemed like almost the entire nation gathered under the TV set every Saturday night to watch Match Of The Day which was, for many, practically the only time anyone could see long highlights of First Division games on the box. Typically, Match Of The Day showed longer highlights from just one game that day and then included brief highlights from some of the other games played that day. It’s no wonder that the FA Cup Final still gives older English football supporters a warm and glowing feeling. The game was one of the few guaranteed days in the year when you could see an entire match live on television.

Obviously we’ve come a long way since 1983. Depending where we live, we can see more Premier League games on television than ever before. But despite that, there are still things missing which could improve our experience of watching Premier League matches. Having access to games in HD is one. But rather than dwelling on that one, here is my list of things the Premier League is missing which could make the experience even better than it currently is:

  1. Premier League Online. Despite all of the massive strides the Premier League has made to bring the 20-team league to TV viewers around the world, the Premier League’s lack of investment and foresight in bringing a comparable online product to Internet users worldwide has been embarrassing. I’m sure the league is concerned that the Internet usage would cannibalize TV rights revenue and could be a nightmare to handle because of piracy issues, but the reality is that more people are watching television online and it’s inevitable that the future of Premier League viewing is online whether it’s on computers or smart phones. That said, the Premier League will hold out for as long as they can so as not to upset the TV companies who pay millions of dollars for the rights to exclusively televise the games. And the Premier League will continue to short shrift everyone who wants to watch games online, legally and at a reasonable cost.
  2. Highlights package. If someone could put together a daily highlight reel that showed every part of a game that was worth watching, whether it was a brilliant piece of dribbling, an attempt on goal, a goal itself or anything else appealing, and then splice that together for all of the games and provide it on one video, that would be brilliant. Yes, there’s Match Of The Day but that show only shows very brief highlights and often, due to time constrictions, misses important pieces of games. But what I’m talking about is a perfect highlights package that shows everything from a game that was worth watching. And provided it in a timely fashion a few hours after a day’s matches have ended.
  3. Twitterball. Phil McThomas from Clever Football came up with an idea a few years ago, which was ahead of its time. His concept was to go ahead and have soccer fans rate games as they were being played so that after the games were over, other soccer fans could visit the page and see how the games were rated. The scores themselves wouldn’t be listed, so if you had been out all day and had all of the games recorded on DVR, you could quickly see which ones would be worth skipping and which ones you should watch. Taking the one idea one step further, Twitter would be a perfect platform to base the platform on. This way, you could tweet your ratings during the game rather than go online. Plus, you could receive tweets whenever a threshold was met (if a game was rated four stars or more out of five). This way, you would know it would be worth rushing home from the mall while your wife was shopping, or not.
  4. Fantasy Premier League iPhone App. It’s not rocket science, but the game would be better if an official iPhone App (and Android app) was made available.
  5. Panini stickers. It’s not Internet or TV-related, but it is surprising that Panini doesn’t have a deal with the Premier League to sell stickers to soccer fans worldwide. But perhaps the Premier League’s licensing department is demanding an exorbitant fee because it doesn’t make much sense that Panini has stickers for the Scottish Premier League, Manchester United and Liverpool, but not the Premier League itself.

What other things could be added to make the Premier League experience better? Add your ideas in the comments section below.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

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.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

23 Responses to Top 5 Ways to Make the Premier League TV and Internet Experience Better

  1. John says:

    FSC HD available on cable providers.

  2. Craig says:

    Apart from the fact that it isn’t in HD, (and one assumes this will change this year) what is wrong with the Premier League review show on Sunday nights? They play it on FSC and on FSC + and I assume it is produced in England and therefore on Sky there. Fabulous hour of TV.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Craig, the Premier League Review Show is great. But if you missed most of Saturday’s games, you would have to wait until Sunday night before you could see the highlights. By that time, it’s old news. You could catch some of the highlights on the Saturday night edition of Fox Soccer Report (if it’s being shown that night).

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Jaime G says:

        Will the Premier League Review Show be available online in the States this season? Any word on if it will be a part of the foxsoccer.tv subscription? I hate to sound like a broken record but I can’t find the answer to this seemingly simple question. Please Gaffer, help me!

  3. Brent says:

    Does anyone know what the yearly cost of foxsoccer.tv is going to be or if they are going to offer a monthly or yearly package? I’m all in on the EPL (never been a fan before this year) and our cable company doesn’t offer FSC or GolTV, so Internet is the only real option for me.

    • Yespage says:

      According to previous comments by The Gaffer, foxsoccer.tv is still working on the site and the package deal will be coming out soon…

      One would think pretty soon seeing the season starts in less than two weeks and the Championship starts even sooner. The schedule for foxsoccer.tv for Championship is already up.

  4. Drew says:

    I really like the Twitterball concept, but I’m not sure how I feel about using Twitter as the medium. I suppose it makes sense. But I would love to know which games were “worth watching” without seeing the scores. There are a few games each week that I’ll watch no matter what, but for those other games…

  5. Cricketlover says:

    I agree that the Premier League needs to have an online presence so that supporters can elect to watch any match they want. This will help the PL rather hinder its growth. I can understand the PL’s thinking that doing so would hurt the companies that have the TV rights. One way around this would be to have a regional online site that would make available only those matches not shown on free TV channels (e.g. ESPN in the USA). Given that FSC and FS+ are not available to all US households, I would make those matches shown by them available on PL online. I’m sure Fox would object but unless Fox can get both FSC and FS+ to be carried by all cable and satellite providers the matches they show should be made available on PL online. Here’s hoping this happens sooner rather than later.

  6. Matt says:

    Honestly, if someone would carry MOTD i would be over the moon. Its definitely sufficient as a medium for highlights. Premier league review show is good only to a point. All the games that aren’t on sky are just glazed over in like 2 minutes.

    I have been watching MOTD posted on dailymotion in pieces. Does anyone broadcast it here in the states?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Matt, no one legally shows Match Of The Day in the States unfortunately.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • DaveG says:

      Matt and anyone else…E-mail me for ways to watch LIVE UKTV channels for free online
      Not a scam…just a football nut from Ireland here in the USA loving sharing access to BBC/ITV etc online for anyone that wants to watch
      FYI No RTE access, its geoblocked :( For some reason RTE does this ONE bloody thing right ;{
      shasoccer@insightbb.com
      Dave

  7. In England we have all these things

    If you have sky internet or the sky package for your xbox, you can watch football live.

    Sky show full length highlights from 8pm when football is being played, starting with “best match of the day” then you can choose which game to watch, you can also get most of the ratins from live text updates from BBC and Sky, as well as most club websites offering a subscription service for radio transmission of games live.

    i’m sure we’ve always had premier league sticker albums, I had one in 96 and one in 97 when i was younger. And on the Iphone (or android) can you not just use a web browser to go to the official fantasy football site?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Rob, regarding the Premier League Online product, I’m talking about one site that you can access where you can watch any Premier League game live. Or on archive.

      As for the best match of the day, I think it’s be better if the people rated the games themselves so it’s more of an impartial opinion rather than relying on Sky to pick the best game.

      Regarding Panini stickers, there used to be some for the English top flight leagues, but I haven’t seen any for the Premier League in years.

      And last, but not least, your point about Fantasy Premier League is a good one. But I would much prefer an iPhone app that I could use rather than fumbling with a website that is not built for mobile devices. It works, but it’s a hassle.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  8. Lowell N. says:

    In 1999-2000, when I had Sky digital (or whatever it was called back then) you could select some feature via the remote and watch a camera focused on one particular player throughout the match. How come this type of technology has not made its way into the US market for EPL broadcasts?

    If Dish Network can promote another show (push Dish on your remote to…) how come we cant get that type of technology to enhance regular broadcasts?

    • Yespage says:

      Because we are the US and lag behind in just about every technology because the “free market” is our blessed golden cow.

  9. jbm says:

    Work with FSC to add more EPL broadcasts and lower the cost for providers to provide the station. Imagine if FSC was up there with ESPN News, SPEED, Golf Channel, or others in terms of market penetration. They’d easily make up their money several fold in merchandise sales and NA club tours.

  10. Gaz Hunt says:

    I don’t think the Premier League will be providing online coverage anytime soon. They make way too much money selling those rights to cooperations to do that.

    What I do think will happen is that clubs will start to develop their own media stations on the internet. I know some teams already have a sub par version of this but I’m talking quality access to all live games your club plays.

    I think clubs are going to gain access to broadcast their games online in the next few years. This is really the next frontier for them. Domestic viewing has plateaued but overseas viewing is where a ton of potential money is.

    To quote a recent Guardian article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/02/liverpool-kenny-huang-tv-rights):

    “If you wonder why Kroenke (partial owner of Arsenal) has never increased his 29.9% stake and launched a full takeover bid for Arsenal, you are looking in the wrong place.

    Two years ago he spent £22.7m in an unheralded deal to acquire 50% of Arsenal Broadband. Forget Arsène Wenger’s inspired transfers: that could be the best bit of business anyone connected to the club has ever done.”

  11. eplnfl says:

    Excellent ideas Chris. Anyone give a chance to an EPL Network on the model of the NFL Network. Plenty of material from English football as a whole to keep it going 24/7 for 365.

  12. Steve says:

    The Premier League official sticker collection is made by Topps who bought Merlin the original manufacturers – http://www.toppsfootball.co.uk/totalfootball/

    Like a previous poster mentioned, with the relevant subscriptions in the UK you can watch all of the televised games on your pc or smartphone.

    We already have a massive number of good quality highlights programmes see here – http://www.live-footballontv.com/football-highlights-on-tv.html

  13. Gavan Vogler says:

    in response to point #3 this is the closet I have come to finding something like that

    http://areyouwatchingthis.com/

    About RUWT?!
    Get Instant Classic alerts when games get good!

    Doing Laundry. Raking the leaves. Went to sleep early. Are any of these worthwhile reasons for missing tonight’s Instant Classic? No, we didn’t think so either.

    Sign up for alerts and RUWTbot will hit you up by email or text message with the score, time left, and channel you need to turn to to catch the game. Don’t be the loser at the water cooler the next day that missed an Instant Classic.

    Wait, I don’t get it. Are you just watching TV all day?

    RUWTbot is our game-watching robot that watches every game, and every channel, and alerts you when to tune in. He understands No-Hitters through 8, Big Upsets, and games going into Triple Overtime. When he finds a great game, he’ll alert you with a text message or email.

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