Glen Isherwood
1 September 2008
England Football Online
Contact Us Page Last Updated 1 September 2008
These opinion pieces express only the views of the author of the particular piece.


Comment: Uproar

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Why can the modest fan can no longer watch England?


I wonder if England fans realise that the only way they can watch the away World Cup qualifiers is to get Setanta. The pubs are probably going to be busier than usual. There aren't even any highlights programmes on terrestrial TV. I know they're advertising it a lot, but they make it sound like it's cheap and convenient.

If you have Sky, there's a special half-price offer of £6.50 a month for the first three months, though you can cancel it after two. Usually, you only need to phone Sky to get channels added. However, do people realise that you actually have to phone Setanta and there's a £14.99 installation charge, as well? I prefer to have the option of dropping Sky Sports channels occasionally, by phone, but to cancel Setanta Sports, you have to put it in writing.

The first three months is free on a Freeview box, but there's the £14.99 installation charge (what a joke that is!), if you have a card slot. It costs £29.99 to get one, more expensive than most Freeview boxes! After the first three months, it's £10.99 per month.

If you have Virgin Media, you can get Setanta 'free' if you sign up to their XL package, for £19 a month! Alternatively, you can buy it for £9.99 a month, but you have to subscribe for 12 months!

Don't think I'll bother. I'll catch the highlights on the internet a few days later. There's a lot of disillusionment in the England team at the moment and I'm not sure that many people will be bothered to make the effort if, like me, they only want Setanta for the England games. I rarely watch Premier League games live. The Champions League means more to me these days and I can get that cheaper from Sky Sports.

We've waited so long for Sky to have some decent competition to drive the prices down and it's having the opposite effect on consumers. It's more expensive to watch the same range of games live. Can we expect prices to drop in the future?.....

I was just looking for the cheapest short-term option and there doesn't appear to be one. If ITV showed highlights, I wouldn't even bother. We've got Sky and Freeview, plus a Virgin Media box in the garage extension, which I only got because it was cheap combined with a broadband offer. Setanta are just too keen to tie people into longer contracts.

Expect questions in parliament again and the next contract ensuring that there's terrestrial coverage of every game in some form.