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General Rains On FA & Setanta’s Parade In England’s 4-0 Win Against Slovakia


While more than 85,000 fans filled Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening to watch England’s 4-0 victory against Slovakia, more than 41,500 watched live streams of the match illegally via the popular website

In the United Kingdom, the England against Slovakia friendly was televised live on Setanta 1. But the majority of football fans in the UK don’t subscribe to the Irish broadcaster’s channel. In the United States, the game was only available on pay-per-view for $20-$25 or in pubs for a similar admission fee.

As a result, I counted 41,657 viewers watching the game on The overwhelming majority of those were watching illegal feeds of Setanta 1’s coverage featuring commentators Jon Champion and Chris Waddle with half-time presenters and pundits Angus Scott, Steve McManaman and Terry Venables.

And remember, this was just a friendly and not even a World Cup qualifier. The numbers could have been much higher for a match of more significance.

In September 2008, I wrote about the illegal streams of the England against Croatia match — also on — which then featured 30,819 viewers watching the game. In that article, I questioned whether was the killer app for soccer fans. Based on the rising number of soccer fans using, it certainly seems to be heading that way.

Ultimately, is filling a void. With all of the advances in broadband technology, it’s ridiculous that the match wasn’t legally available for football supporters who wanted to watch it from the comfort of their own computer. And not just legally, but also at a reasonable price for a friendly. Expecting punters to pay $20-$25 to watch a one-sided friendly on pay-per-view is not a smart business model. A much wiser choice would have been to make the game available via pay-per-view or online for $10.

In the United Kingdom, the problem with football supporters deciding not to subscribe to Setanta Sports in addition to Sky Sports will continue to worsen especially now that Setanta only has one instead of two packages for Premier League TV rights in the UK from 2010-2013. As word spreads about how easy it is for football fans to watch matches via, more UK residents will surf online to instead of calling Setanta to subscribe.

What shows is that there is massive demand for football supporters who are interested in watching their football matches online. Whether it’s England matches or Premier League games, the football associations and leagues need to better address the gaping voids that exist in cyberspace where there’s pent-up demand but very few choices available.

While most football federations and leagues are too short-sighted to see the massive revenue opportunities available to them by making their games available online to a worldwide audience, they instead focus their attention on trying to combat the pirated streams and goal highlights on YouTube. There is no way that those football organizations can win that battle. Instead, they need to embrace technology otherwise the Internet pirates will begin to vastly effect their bottom line if they haven’t begun to do so already.

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  1. justin tv

    August 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    we will see this year i think

  2. inke maria

    April 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Why I can’t see anything picture when I open some channel in ?

  3. lig tv

    April 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm


  4. justin tv

    April 5, 2009 at 11:06 am


  5. John

    April 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    On Saturday I posted this…
    “(Although for whatever reason they did neglect to show the Ireland game, but maybe redeem themselves slightly as they will show Italy-Ireland on Wednesday).”

    Due to Setanta’s incompetence, or just a will to shaft people who want to watch Ireland play, the will now not being showing Italy-Ireland on Broadband PPV contrary to their Broadband PPV guide as of Saturday.

    Arseholes ! did you say?

  6. YAWN

    March 30, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Um Justin TV????? They are just the newest site that allows people to catch sports on their computers…. I know of about 20 other spots you could have watched the England match online ……. Don’t blame justin – they just allow a platform for people to broadcast.

  7. SSReporters

    March 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Gaffer, I’d rather not be caught between a rock and a hard place.

    I’d have to PAY to watch England play on Setanta Sports. If I don’t want to do that, your proposal about the FA creating a stream type of thing that viewers would be willing to pay for is not much better.

    The objective isn’t to appease the fans, it’s to appease their wallets. That’s why I love and whatnot because it can’t be stopped.

  8. eplnfl

    March 30, 2009 at 11:58 am


    The point well made. Even if the Prem tripled the MLS amount they would take in a mega amount. It crosses my mind that the big teams do not the Wigans, Blackburns, and Hull City’s of English football to collect the cash for that.

  9. hal

    March 30, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Despite the things MLS gets criticized for, one thing they do well is offer all games live not on ESPN, FSC, or Telefutura online and they do carry the archives of all games. The entire season can be viewed in 800k streams for less than $20 for a full season. A real bargain.

    If the Premiership did something similar for a reasonable price I’d bet a lot would sign up.

  10. eplnfl

    March 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Lud, you are so right if you can get a game for say the i-phone app price of .99 cents. The EPL or channel with the rights would have a landfall given the volume they would create.

    This site and Gaffer’s writing on the media as it relates to football serves the interest of the fan to get the powers to be to realize the needs of the fans. Yes, they do read what goes on here. All the major American sports have reached their status because of free TV ( ok, you can say MLB was big before TV but it was free radio back in the day), football/soccer will flourish in America as it appears more and more on free TV or the basic sports cable such as ESPN.

  11. Lud

    March 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I’m in college and can’t afford cable or satellite, so the internet is the only way for me to view international soccer games. If I could afford it I would much rather pay and watch it on my TV screen instead of unreliable, grainy feeds. I think that is doing more good than harm for soccer as it opens up another avenue to people who would otherwise do without. I agree with your article and think that Sky would do well to set up a site like ESPN360 and make a little change off the ad revenues instead of the zero dollars they are pulling in letting the pirates do it.

  12. manubhoy

    March 29, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I have the $150 annual subscription to Setanta Broadband and I got the England game without paying the $9.99 John was talking about. I’ll also be getting the England and Ireland qualifiers on Wednesday for no additional charge. I got all the 6 nations games for free too, which was pretty sweet.

    I’m very excited for the new Setanta broadband I heard about on your podcast. I’ve been watching March Madness on Demand, which uses the same software, and it’s exceptional. I’m not expecting Setanta to be as good, obviously, but any upgrade will be welcome.

  13. ossie's dream

    March 29, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    P.S. I used the recording industry analogy on this blog before. The music industry was compelled into action by Steve Jobs and iTunes. Football needs its Steve Jobs because the FA, EPL and Net Result (you might want to look up “Net Result,” ArthurArseGooner) clearly don’t get it.

  14. ossie's dream

    March 29, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Gaffer, please DO keep blogging about topics such as this. Anyone following this blog for a period of time will know EPL Talk isn’t just about match analysis. I go to other news sites for game reports, but as an ex-pat football fan, EPL Talk is often my first port of call when I want to learn about TV rights or football on the Internet.

    For someone who doesn’t rate this site much, ArthurArseGooner seems to devote a lot of time commenting on it. And, as the Gaffer pointed out, his comments are ill informed. If you insist on commenting, Arthur, please do try to keep up to speed, otherwise your efforts are waste of everybody’s time. Cheers.

  15. kevin

    March 29, 2009 at 8:10 am

    EPL & FA should just follow what MLB does and they won’t have this problem you pay $100 a season and you can access any game live or on demand. They also should adopt what MLB does and have highlights right after the match on their web page instead of having to monitor youtube etc. and have them taken down.

  16. nick

    March 29, 2009 at 1:09 am

    The days of charging $20-$25 dollars for a game on ppv in the u.s are long gone.With the advent of Fsc & Sentana u no longer need to pay these absurd fees for a oneoff match. I pay $15 a month for sentana for example and get 30 games a month from the epl, iknow England games are different- but $25 for a friendly, what are they thinking………..
    This only plays into the hands of places like justin t.v

  17. eplnfl

    March 28, 2009 at 11:21 pm is no news flash as The Gaffer has pointed out. For that matter there are a good number of clones out there that are just as good.

    May I suggest as Chris does, is that the future of TV is online broadcasting? ESPN 360 brings free soccer to the US public of the USMNT as well as the CL and the English Championship for free. English football is weighed down by a 1950’s TV policy in England. The English sporting public should be outraged. All of my hometown Chicago Fire games are televised with many on free over the air TV. The great growth of sports in America has been substantially credited to free TV. The point is when will powers that be in England adopt a TV plan that belongs to this century!

  18. The Gaffer

    March 28, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Good analogy Patrick regarding the record industry. It’s so true.

    John, that’s interesting about the England game being shown on Setanta Broadband for $10. I didn’t realize they were making that available for annual subscribers. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

    Dano, I could have written a report about the game, but rather than trying to compete against 20-30 other blogs and websites that would have published similar reviews, I decided to write about a unique aspect of the game which was the blatant number of people watching the game illegally.

    The Gaffer

  19. Patrick

    March 28, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    The fact that England’s national team is on an Irish network and not the BBC speaks volumes.

    Its just like the record industry, catch up with technology or be eaten up by it…

  20. ILLAIM

    March 28, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    As said before me Every large Sports or Entertainment entity knows about justin tv. I’m and American and don’t evenlike the England national side like that and I definitely would have watched it if I could get ot on tv and might even had paid $10 for it
    Great point on the blatantly obvious correct business model

  21. Dano

    March 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Best part about this is that should be the least of their worries.

    I can name about 5 sites that stream matches live. Shut one down and three more will pop up in their place.

    Gaffer – spend less time blogging about and more time blogging about the matches. Regardless of the outcome, illegal feeds will always be available.

  22. John

    March 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    “A much wiser choice would have been to make the game available via pay-per-view or online for $10.”

    Setanta Broadband did that. ($9.99)

    I watched it as part of their $150 yearly sub.
    (Although for whatever reason they did neglect to show the Ireland game, but maybe redeem themselves slightly as they will show Italy-Ireland on Wednesday).

  23. The Gaffer

    March 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    The FA is well aware of There’s no point pretending that it’s under their radar. In fact, The Daily Mirror interviewed the FA about in October.

    Yes, is a lifesaver, but my point is that rather than ignore the problem, the FA and leagues should create a online product that fans would be willing to pay for. is a hassle. The streaming is unreliable. The Sports section is filled with link spam. Wouldn’t you prefer a state-of-the-art online site similar to Hulu? I’d be willing to pay for a service like that.

    Arthur, I temporarily took the article ratings feature down because the site is getting so much traffic (the most it has ever had, in fact) that the pages were loading too slowly.

    The Gaffer

  24. Brian Zygo

    March 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I rely heavily on, especially when matches I want to see aren’t on tv in the US. I’ve recently found another site with better picture quality then and it has become my go to for watching soccer and other sports online.

  25. Leecif

    March 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    ArthurArseGooner is right – we know, other fans know, lets leave it at that. It doesn’t bother me much as I watched round a friend’s house, but for plenty of others without this option this is a valuable service, and sticking it in a fairly mainstream blog like this means the Football Association are likely to find out and start speaking legal-ese to them.

  26. ArthurArseGooner

    March 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    i see you took of the rating system, must be because most of the articles on this site were only one star. thats a shame.

  27. ArthurArseGooner

    March 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    By writing you are giving out valuable info to the FA directing them to the site. Youre holding a big sign with flashing lights that says “hey FA Im telling you were to go to prosecute the people that are making you lose money”. The FA only need to google and find out now. There are things you dont write about that should only be passed on by private means and you just ruined that. Come next year when it will be impossible to find any streams youll be the one to thank for the distaster. And for youre information I am a paying customer of Setana so I am just defending the less fortunate. Youre the guy who cuts out the heat from a poor family that fails to pay their heating bill in the winter.

  28. Kartik

    March 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks to Justin TV, I was able to stream Miami’s spring game on my website today, and got an amazing number of hits from out of area fans who don’t get CSS.

    I’ve hesitated about streaming before, since Justin TV does pick up all of the ABC and ESPN games in (American) Football, Basketball and (International) Football.

    I’ve watched lots of qualifiers on Justin TV- Asian, African, and especially South American which Setanta now only sells to bars and pubs since winning the rights.

    Right now Justin TV is a life saver.

  29. ArthurArseGooner

    March 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Gaffer why do you do this? Do you have nothing else to talk about? Are you for the establishment? You realize that writing this will only help the FA close the links? I really dont understand why you have to side with the man. You are like a musqito, sucking the blood from every good thing about football.

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