Sky TV, brand affinity, masquerading insight


Do you remember the early days of Sky Sports?  They raised the bar for football coverage on television, which had been limited in the scope of cameras deployed, production skills and incident analysis.  When Sky arrived, the number of cameras at a game went from two to 12.  Time was dedicated to the pre-match build-up and you were learning things about the game from analysts, who knew more than you.

We liked Sky, they put money into our game and gave us a more enjoyable viewing experience.  There was what media people call brand affinity with the broadcaster.  Let’s remember where we were before that time.  As recently as 1995, Charlie Nicholas co-commentated for 15 minutes telling us the score was Rangers 1-1 Celtic, when the Rangers goal had been disallowed for offside.  An entire match production team at Ibrox didn’t know the score.

While Sky continued to improve the quality of their premium output, their efforts at delivering Scottish football content has dropped off a cliff.  Even those who work with the broadcaster tell me they are not interested in our game, an insight that scarcely needs to be stated.

Yesterday’s announcement by Sky that they secured rights to the SPFL for five seasons, pushing out BT Sport in the process, was Ratner-esque in the delivery of a business message.  The graphic featured Brendan Rodgers, a Celtic crest, Steven Gerrard and a Newco crest.  The message was clear: there are only two teams in this league we care about.  Even I was offended, despite my team featuring.  Consider where brand affinity is now.

We will all miss BT Sport, especially big Chris, but I’m not sharing the love with them.  Their production standards were excellent, but if they were not prepared to pay for the product, they cannot retain the rights.  The League only has discretion on these matters if the difference in bids is marginal, which it was not on this occasion.

So we are left with Sky, who still employ Charlie Nicholas, and who has never been short of a word (unless asked to contribute to a cause by Celtic), but has never provided insight into anything. Ever.  And there’s Andy Walker, who sent viewers off air telling them Celtic still had work to do to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, despite the whole of Europe knowing they secured just that.  People who do not know the score of a game they are commentating on, and do not know why 60,000 people are celebrating a result!  This is their business, and they know less about it than you.

I hope the money Sky have put in means they will take us more seriously but I remain to be convinced.  Stay tuned for five long years of mindless stating of the obvious, or ill-informed speculation about schisms masquerading as value-added insight.  Is it any wonder the new media find such a fertile audience?  Andy Gray must be spinning in his misogynist-bordello-themed 7am pub.

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  1. Re Scotland. Interesting that the show was run by Celtic players, past and present. Thought our bhoys were, well, superb.


    What I did like, was the crowd, albeit probably through gritted teeth, singing “There’s only one James Forrest”, I liked that.


    Back to the game and time for a reality check. We havn’t beaten Belgium, Spain or France, we beat Albania and Israel, FFS. Ok, that;s quite an improvement on recent showings, but let’s not be too smug considering the opposition.


    I say it again, Celtic should let SFA stew in the juice of their own making and not allow Celtic players play for the National team until we get equality, ain’t gonna happen though.




  2. Re the presentation style on SKY and BT.


    On Spanish TV there are no”experts” at halftime, they go to a break, come back, show about a minute’s highlights, then go to another break and come back for the 2nd Half.


    That’s right isn’t it TET


    Much more enjoyable por cierto.

  3. Thomthethim



    I think I am getting what irks you bout sky or bt’s bid.


    They are biased towards R2a0n1g2ers.


    They report but do not investigate our game


    They manipulate our kick off times


    They continue the myth


    They offer nothing to game attendees


    They do not disclose how much they give our game(corporate confidentiality)


    They do not tell you if you subscribe in Scotland you are transferring money out of our game into the richest league in the world(we are the Canadian basketball league-next to the NBA)



    May I point out I do not have sky.i go to games work pending and loathe Murdoch influence on football.



    Every league they have involvement in lacks competition.the EPL I grew up with had a greater range of title winners now it’s been ‘spl’d” for want of a better term-winner is biggest spender/recipient of sky money.



    Anyway hope your well T :-)



    Rant over




  4. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    An Tearmann,



    You have summed it up well.


    Thanks, I am as well as a doddery oul’ septuagenarian can reasonably expect.



    I survived a five hour session with Tully57 and two of his mates in Edinburgh recently, so I can’t complain.



    Much of today’s talk has been about TV coverage of the game.



    I watched the Scotland game last night on Virgin Media Sport in Ireland and watched a good good game, enhanced by quality commentary.



    Great praise was given to the home team’s performance unequivocally, without the need to qualify their comment, due the sensitivities of some of their audience.



    If there is a better analyst and summeriser than former Ireland manager, Brian Kerr, I have yet to hear of him or her.



    Both he and Des Curran, the commentator, were astonished at the list of “unavailable players.



    They reckoned that the cohesion between the Celtic boys came from the Scotland training sessions, but I forgive them for that.



    It took Kevin Kilbane in the studio to point out the Celtic influence in the goals.



    Whoever takes over will have a tough job, as, at the moment, Ireland don’t even have the sow’s ear!

  5. Sky or BT?



    BT at least tries to talk up the game in Scotland and has some unbiased members of their panel.



    Regardless, it would be good if we could have a commentator or co-commentator who was able to offer some insight on the game rather quoting irrelevant “factoids” and stating the bleeding obvious. Davie Provan was a prime example last night with Scotland down 1-0 he offered the blindly incisive comment that “Scotland need to score two goals”.



    Phrases such as


    – “he just about kept that in” (No, he DID keep it in which is why the game is still going on).


    – “he was just about onside” (No, he was either onside or offside)



    I long for the old days when commentators just told us the name of the players and stop the waffling and inane chat. Let the viewers enjoy the atmosphere.



    Can anyone remember the last time a commentator or summariser provided a snippet of information about what was going on in the game that made you think “wow, that’s a good point. I hadn’t realised that”?

  6. He’s capable of that (he just did)



    I’ve seen em given(has seen refs give penalties)



    Anywhere else on the pitch , that’s a foul (except the other penalty box we presume)

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