Matchdebating: TV revolution has left many behind

Modern football is increasingly controlled by Sky. They have almost a complete monopoly over the sport.

Yes, other channels have some coverage, ITV and Channel Five are good examples.

However, they provide meagre rations left by the banquet of Sky – highlights packages, the occasional live game and the Europa League. Fans without Sky are often left in the cold when it comes to top class live football. This domination by Sky is wrong and is threatening to ruin the popularity of the beautiful game.

However, even the biggest critic of Sky cannot deny that they have improved elements of the game. Sky has revolutionised the way in which football is covered, giving the game a more professional look.

Coverage of lower league football is dramatically improved and the money they have pumped into the game has lured some of the finest players in world football to grace our top division.

For all these positives, the monopoly of Sky comes with many negative points. Rather than broadcasting the game, television now runs it.

Fixtures are scheduled to maximise the audience, with complete disregard for those who bothered to leave their armchair. Kick-off times have become about as predictable as the weather, with teams playing at any time, on any given day.

Supporters are the bedrock of the game, yet television treats them with utter contempt.

Sky’s monopoly is harming the future of the game on the field, although the impact television money is having off the field causes concern.

Premier League clubs receive vast amounts of money from Sky and this helps to widen the gap between the top division and the teams fighting for a seat at the table.

In addition, the so-called ‘big four’ are televised live many times during the season. This allows them to receive extra funds and ensures that the rich keep on getting richer.

It’s a vicious cycle which threatens the future of clubs not sharing in the prosperity.

Several clubs have already folded and many more are suffering financially. The vast difference between the top division and the rest is creating a divide which cannot be repaired.

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