Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rugby tv & radio housekeeping

November 20, 2006

More from the frontlines of the battle to get rugby coverage in North America (generally) and Canada (especially!)...

The England vs. South Africa test match was not available on BBC audio on Saturday, despite the BBC Sports website promoting, quote:

Live international rugby: England v South Africa

Saturday18 November
Kick-off: 1430 GMT

Listen to live commentary from BBC Radio Five Live.

There was no indication whatsoever on the BBC website that internet users in North America were prohibited from listening due to "contractual obligation" restrictions, which is kinda irritating. So I snapped off a short note of complaint to the BBC.

Within minutes I received a reply from Roger Mosey, the Head of BBC Sports, who has been punctual getting back to me in the past. Mosey was in attendance in the press box at Twickenham and wrote me during the first half. He apologized and informed me the England autumn international rights are limited to the UK only. (This is not the case for the Six Nations where we have worldwide audio rights.) Mosey also promised to alert their head of interactive to notify users of rights restrictions in future .

Mosey also told me, "I'm advised England games are available on Setanta tv in Canada and may be available online on MediaZone." I informed Mosey on Setanta not being available to residences in Canada, and that Mediazone did not have rights to England or France test. Mosey responded again quickly, saying, "I'm actually at Twickenham with the RFU and with media colleagues including Setanta - so what I passed on I got from them. Setanta do believe they can be seen in parts of Canada so I've asked them to investigate further!"

And indeed he did. I just received a message from Robert Ryan, Director of Setanta (USA), who clarifies Setanta's rugby availability in Canada. Ryan admits Setanta was, " a bit short of matches this year for the Autumn Internationals unfortunately as we could not get the Celtic games - they were simply too expensive." Ryan confirms the England & France internationals are available live on Setanta Premium commercially in the bars on PPV and provides a venue finder.

Tantalyzingly, Ryan also informs me:

"These games are also delayed on our full-time channel - Setanta Sports in the bars for free. We are hoping to have this channel available residentially also in Canada by early spring. This Channel carries the majority of the best rugby from both the Northern & Southern hemispheres along with various magazine shows. Our Channel is also available on IPTV through ITVN which simply allows you to hook up an additional piece of equipment to your cable box at home - see the link on our site."

(Bold emphasis mine.)

And on a different matter, that awesome service Rugby Heaven was providing the last couple weeks of extended Wallaby and All Black highlight clips... those are now restricted to NZ & Australian internet subscribers only, so those of us in North America are shitoutta luck. Again. Friggin' gddamn broadcast rights for rugby, I'm sick of it I tells ya!!

Keep yr fingers crossed...


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