IT HAS been a few years now since Sky TV lost its rights to broadcast English Premier Football after first being replaced by a company — whose name I have forgotten — which broadcast the games over the internet.
Since then the matches have returned to the platform but in a "you-need-to-pay-more-to-see-it" mode. Needless to say, I haven't paid to watch any English football since it was relinquished by Sky.
Now, as a capitalist at heart, I should be saluting the recent news of a deal by Spark to pick up the rights and develop the streaming of sport content. Unfortunately, I feel quite the opposite.
Why do I feel this way?
In the end the market has spoken and a new approach is taking hold. I guess it is that gnawing feeling that Sky didn't put up a fight and now I am faced with another choice,
Sky Sport or Spark Sport — that is, take the financial pain of purchasing both or neither.
Sure, Sky TV will make statements like: "It is not as though we didn't try", but the statement loses its gloss when you consider the other important events Sky is shedding (Rugby World Cup being one, although some of it will be free-to-air).
The development shows even the biggest monopoly can lose track of what competitors are doing, but also it can be caught off guard by disruption of its market.
But for the little guy consumer, like me, why do I feel like I have been short-changed in much the same way that away supporters at Old Trafford get frustrated by refereeing calls?
Many of us football diehards began our relationship with Sky TV when it had exclusive rights to the English Premier League.
So these developments are like your partner of 20 years throwing out the Led Zeppelin CDs you listened to when you got together and saying: "All that is left are my Katy Perry and Justin Beiber CDs, so you will stick with me and like it."
The other part is that there really hasn't been an apology on their part, much like finding the aforementioned music collection in the rubbish and your partner acting like it was always meant to roll this way.
You also have the feeling that other treasured components of the relationship (like rugby, for example) will disappear in a similar manner.
So, what to do?
I can't stay mad at Sky TV forever because that's where Game of Thrones and Ray Donovan live. But I'd like them to take the kick in the rear that's coming over this (as more subscribers vacate) and sort their strategic senses out such that this doesn't happen again (e.g. Better Call Saul).
Regarding football, I will probably continue to scour YouTube after Liverpool has played and embrace the thrill of watching highlights with Russian or South American commentary.
And I'll await the new Spark service and compare it to the value of a continued Sky subscription. Since I am a Liverpool supporter, there is also the grim reality that beggars can't be choosers.
Balance Consulting is a Whanganui consultancy specialising in business strategy, process excellence and leadership mentoring — contact Russell Bell on 021 2442421 or John Taylor on 027 4995872.