bt sport live fixtures fa cup

Press Report

Catalogue of news sources updated continuously

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+

Ads

Louis van Gaal's first match in charge of Manchester United shown live on BT Sport

14 July 2014 17:41:15 Football | Mail Online

Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United will open the Premier League season after their home fixture with Swansea City was chosen for live, lunchtime coverage on BT Sport.

Vice Football Time14 July 2014 17:41:15


Ads

Premier League TV schedule: Sky Sports and BT Sport announce early season live fixtures

14 July 2014 17:25:47 Football - Fixtures, results, news, match reports, comment

Broadcasting rivals announce live games with BT Sport showing Louis van Gaal's first Manchester United match and Sky Sports free to air on opening day

Vice Sport Time14 July 2014 17:25:47


Premier League TV schedule: Sky Sports and BT Sport announce early season live fixtures

14 July 2014 16:50:56 Sport

Broadcasting rivals announce live games with BT Sport showing Louis van Gaal's first Manchester United match and Sky Sports free to air on opening day

Vice Sport Time14 July 2014 16:50:56


Louis van Gaal's first match in charge of Manchester United shown live on BT Sport

14 July 2014 16:13:48 Sport | Mail Online

Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United will open the Premier League season after their home fixture with Swansea City was chosen for live, lunchtime coverage on BT Sport.

Vice Sport Time14 July 2014 16:13:48


BT Sport line up Andy Gray for FA Cup Arsenal and Liverpool clash

13 February 2014 16:51:37 Football | Mail Online

Andy Gray will make a second appearance as co-commentator with BT Sport – despite the emergence of the latest video which shows him behaving in a sexist manner.

Vice Football Time13 February 2014 16:51:37


Gray's comeback continues as BT Sport line up ex-Sky Sports commentator for FA Cup clash between Arsenal and Liverpool

13 February 2014 16:07:43 Sport | Mail Online

Andy Gray will make a second appearance as co-commentator with BT Sport – despite the emergence of the latest video which shows him behaving in a sexist manner.

Vice Sport Time13 February 2014 16:07:43


BT Sport to televise Manchester City and Manchester United FA Cup ties

11 December 2013 17:50:46 mirror - Sport

BT Sport have announced a trio of fixtures that will hit your screens on the first weekend of 2014

Vice Sport Time11 December 2013 17:50:46


Sky Sports and BT Sport Christmas fixtures announced

09 October 2013 14:46:18 Football | Mail Online

Football fans will be given a treat around the Christmas period as a host of top Premier League games will be shown live on television.

Vice Football Time09 October 2013 14:46:18


Sky Sports and BT Sport Christmas fixtures announced

09 October 2013 14:13:29 Sport | Mail Online

Football fans will be given a treat around the Christmas period as a host of top Premier League games will be shown live on television.

Vice Sport Time09 October 2013 14:13:29


BBC and BT Sport to share FA Cup TV rights

18 July 2013 04:12:08 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

• Contest to return to BBC in four-year deal from 2014/15 • ITV retains the rights to England's home matches The world's oldest knockout cup competition is to return to the BBC after an absence of seven years, as part of a deal for the FA Cup in which it will share the rights with new entrant BT Sport. The contract, which runs for four years from 2014/15, means that FA Cup ties will be shared between the BBC and BT while ITV retains the rights to England's home matches. Added together, the FA's income for the FA Cup and England's home matches is believed to be approaching the high watermark of the £425m paid by ITV and Setanta in 2007. Director general Tony Hall said the deal had put the FA Cup "back where it belongs" on the BBC, which will have first pick of the best matches in each round. "What has interested me in my first few months here are the lessons of the Olympics in how you bring all the services around the big event, whether that be Wimbledon or Glastonbury," said Hall. "When you poll licence fee payers they say they want the big events to be on the BBC. The FA Cup is one of those big national moments. Working closely with the FA I believe we will change the way we view the FA Cup forever." BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: "BT Sport made a determined joint bid to retain the FA Cup rights because we believe it is one of the truly great club football competitions." When ITV chairman Michael Grade engineered a £425m coup with now defunct pay TV broadcaster Setanta to snatch the rights from the BBC and Sky in 2007, it caused fury at the BBC. But ITV later had to admit it had overpaid, while Setanta went bust. The BBC has only now returned to the table and the emergence of BT Sport as a serious challenger to Sky allowed the Football Association to engineer a more competitive auction this time around. The difficulties surrounding the broadcast rights for the FA Cup – when Setanta went under ESPN stepped in, only to exit the market itself when it lost its Premier League package – have compounded the issues involved in maintaining its relevancy. The FA has periodically considered radical changes to the FA Cup format but claimed last season that more subtle moves, including the controversial decision to kick off the final at 5.15pm, had helped reinvigorate it. The teatime kick-off is likely to stay under the new deal. In a twist of fate, the unveiling of the new TV rights deal was the first official public event for new FA chairman Greg Dyke, a former BBC director general. Although he had little to do with the negotiations, when he was at the BBC he was vocal about the need for it to bid for major sporting events. The FA Cup rights were split from the England matches for the first as a result of Uefa's decision to sell the rights for competitive qualifying matches centrally. ITV agreed a £100m deal to cover England's competitive home internationals live until 2018 earlier this year. "What's interesting from our audience research is that they expect the big events to be on the BBC. But not at any price – which is why the BT element of the deal is important," said Hall. Gary Lineker, the Match of the Day presenter who is likely to host the BBC's FA Cup coverage, said the BBC's recapture of the rights would be broadly welcomed by licence fee payers. "It's right for the BBC to try its best, in difficult times when you going up against operators, to bid for what it can," he said. "The BBC has consistently shown what it can do for sport over a long period of time. The Open, Wimbledon, World Cups, European Championships. We'll do this competition justice." Lineker also hit back at critics of Match of the Day's style. "It's still hugely popular, hugely watched and our figures continue to rise season on season. That's where your answer lies. Our graphics are state of the art, we're always looking at ways of doing it differently," he said. "The only criticism we tend to get is that there's not enough analysis – but if we started showing analysis instead of action, we have to get the right balance. We've got good people, great pundits and we're looking at bringing new people in all the time. In terms of pundits, it's a nightmare job – one man's pundit is another man's poison. You either love them or hate them." BBC BT Sport Sports rights Television industry FA Cup Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time18 July 2013 04:12:08


The FA Cup to be shown live on BBC TV and BT Sport from next year

17 July 2013 00:19:43 mirror - Sport

Huge boost for the Beeb as deal is struck for world's oldest football competition to return after a two-year absence on ITV

Vice Sport Time17 July 2013 00:19:43


BT looking for a Premier League buzz in broadcasting battle with Sky

13 July 2013 23:14:50 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

The new Premier League football broadcaster has unveiled its new studio, talent and intent as it prepares to go to air We're not quite in Rafa Benítez territory, but the battle between Sky Sports and BT Sport is turning as acrimonious as some of the storylines both hope will emerge during the new Premier League season. The high-profile entrance into the market of a deep-pocketed rival to Sky Sports, which has driven the growth of the Premier League and revolutionised sports broadcasting over the past two decades, has raised the stakes for both. On one side of London, towards the M4, Sky is preparing for the season in new studios with an overhauled schedule and new signings, including Jamie Carragher . In the east, at the Olympic Park, BT is putting the finishing touches to vast studios from where its three sports channels will go live on 1 August. The phoney war, which has spanned an escalating PR battle and an advertising blitz from both sides, is almost over. Now BT must match its ambitious rhetoric with reality. Its new studios are housed in the cavernous former Olympic broadcasting centre and include a replica of a football pitch on which pundits including Steve McManaman and Owen Hargreaves will illuminate the action. They threw open their doors on Monday when Jake Humphrey and his new colleagues began rehearsals. Inside the huge 14,000 sq ft studio, which has been built in record time and to which the Observer was granted exclusive access, a central hub covered in dot matrix screens is the defining feature. The largest plate-glass windows in Europe offer a view into the gallery, while graphics for Clare Balding's show and for Danny Baker and Danny Kelly's weekly programme are displayed on the screens. But the eye is drawn to the full-size goal and hi-tech floor that can display a range of lighting configurations. "It's a blank canvas. The football and the rugby guys are already very excited about what they could do with this space," says BT Sport director Simon Green . Green got the idea for the large, open-plan studio, which will allow viewers to catch glimpses of what is going out on the other BT Sport channels as cameras swoop around, from a broadcaster in Kiev. It will, he says, make the channel feel very different from previous pretenders to Sky's throne. "We're more personality led. We feel we've got a core of presenters who viewers will really enjoy," says Green. "Without getting personal, the presentation of football hasn't come on a huge amount in the last 15 years. We think we'll bring something different." Des Kelly, a journalist who will present a nightly live show that mixes sports news with opinion, entertainment and celebrity guests, said the studios were "like something out of Blade Runner ". Besides the Premier League, BT will air football from around Europe, Premiership rubgy, the FA Cup, WTA tennis, MotoGP, Ultimate Fighting and a range of other sports. It is available free to BT broadband subscribers, but costs £10 a month for non-subscribers. Sky, for its part, has affected nonchalance and has been keen to emphasise the breadth and depth of its offering – it will still show 116 live top-flight matches to BT's 38. Yet Humphrey and the executives who hired him to open up a new flank in BT's broader battle with BSkyB for broadband and television subscibers have been bullish about their prospects. "BT Sport are different to what's gone before, they present a serious challenge. We're the new noisy neighbours, the Man City, so it's natural Sky want to protect their dominant position," says Kelly. BT has argued that Sky's coverage is "cold", promising to bring a new vitality and accessibility. Balding will host a weekly interview show and BT has vowed to bring the inclusiveness of the BBC's Olympics coverage to its channels. "We don't want to be Sky Sports. It is great at what it does. We're much more personality led. We want to be wider and more accessible," said Green. Sky, fiercely proud of its comprehensive coverage and reputation for innovation, has been withering in public and scathing in private about its new rival. The simmering enmity exploded on Thursday when the two broadcasters unveiled their first tranche of live matches for the opening weeks of the season. Sky Sports has bagged the managerial debuts of David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini, plus the second coming of José Mourinho, on the opening weekend. Their managing director, Barney Francis, said that contrary to BT's advertising strapline, its lineup of matches showed it was no "game changer" – the implication being that for all its big talk, BT offered little different to other former rivals such as Setanta and ESPN. BT Vision's chief executive Marc Watson hit back, saying the criticism, and a strategy he claimed was designed to "block" BT in the early part of the season, showed that Sky was deeply worried. "They've spent most of their time talking about us. I think they're pretty rattled. I know they're obsessed by us but we're not obsessed by them. We're obsessed by creating some great channels," he said. Asked what he thought of Sky's new Saturday schedule, which will segue from its Football League lunchtime match, to Soccer Saturday, to its new regular teatime live Premier League game and then Football First in front of a studio audience, Watson said: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Sky might say the same about some of the BT Sport schedule, particularly the decision to hire Tim Lovejoy to front a light-hearted Saturday morning show. BT had already announced plans for the former BBC F1 frontman Humphrey to anchor a programme in front of an audience to try to retain viewers throughout the day. Now Green says BT may not use a Top Gear -style audience after all. But whether it has enough high-quality content to convince avid fans they need it in addition to Sky, or casual fans to switch to BT Broadband, is the billion-pound question. BT has already invested well over that figure in getting the channels up and running, including acquiring the UK assets of ESPN . It is understood to be hopeful of adding a four-year contract for the FA Cup, perhaps in conjunction with the BBC, to its portfolio from 2014. BT has also spent a small fortune signing up ambassadors such as Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie, who will play as yet undefin

Vice All News Time13 July 2013 23:14:50


BT looking for a Premier League buzz in broadcasting battle with Sky

13 July 2013 23:09:05 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

The new Premier League football broadcaster has unveiled its new studio, talent and intent as it prepares to go to air We're not quite in Rafa Benítez territory, but the battle between Sky Sports and BT Sport is turning as acrimonious as some of the storylines both hope will emerge during the new Premier League season. The high-profile entrance into the market of a deep-pocketed rival to Sky Sports, which has driven the growth of the Premier League and revolutionised sports broadcasting over the past two decades, has raised the stakes for both. On one side of London, towards the M4, Sky is preparing for the season in new studios with an overhauled schedule and new signings, including Jamie Carragher . In the east, at the Olympic Park, BT is putting the finishing touches to vast studios from where its three sports channels will go live on 1 August. The phoney war, which has spanned an escalating PR battle and an advertising blitz from both sides, is almost over. Now BT must match its ambitious rhetoric with reality. Its new studios are housed in the cavernous former Olympic broadcasting centre and include a replica of a football pitch on which pundits including Steve McManaman and Owen Hargreaves will illuminate the action. They threw open their doors on Monday when Jake Humphrey and his new colleagues began rehearsals. Inside the huge 14,000 sq ft studio, which has been built in record time and to which the Observer was granted exclusive access, a central hub covered in dot matrix screens is the defining feature. The largest plate-glass windows in Europe offer a view into the gallery, while graphics for Clare Balding's show and for Danny Baker and Danny Kelly's weekly programme are displayed on the screens. But the eye is drawn to the full-size goal and hi-tech floor that can display a range of lighting configurations. "It's a blank canvas. The football and the rugby guys are already very excited about what they could do with this space," says BT Sport director Simon Green . Green got the idea for the large, open-plan studio, which will allow viewers to catch glimpses of what is going out on the other BT Sport channels as cameras swoop around, from a broadcaster in Kiev. It will, he says, make the channel feel very different from previous pretenders to Sky's throne. "We're more personality led. We feel we've got a core of presenters who viewers will really enjoy," says Green. "Without getting personal, the presentation of football hasn't come on a huge amount in the last 15 years. We think we'll bring something different." Des Kelly, a journalist who will present a nightly live show that mixes sports news with opinion, entertainment and celebrity guests, said the studios were "like something out of Blade Runner ". Besides the Premier League, BT will air football from around Europe, Premiership rubgy, the FA Cup, WTA tennis, MotoGP, Ultimate Fighting and a range of other sports. It is available free to BT broadband subscribers, but costs £10 a month for non-subscribers. Sky, for its part, has affected nonchalance and has been keen to emphasise the breadth and depth of its offering – it will still show 116 live top-flight matches to BT's 38. Yet Humphrey and the executives who hired him to open up a new flank in BT's broader battle with BSkyB for broadband and television subscibers have been bullish about their prospects. "BT Sport are different to what's gone before, they present a serious challenge. We're the new noisy neighbours, the Man City, so it's natural Sky want to protect their dominant position," says Kelly. BT has argued that Sky's coverage is "cold", promising to bring a new vitality and accessibility. Balding will host a weekly interview show and BT has vowed to bring the inclusiveness of the BBC's Olympics coverage to its channels. "We don't want to be Sky Sports. It is great at what it does. We're much more personality led. We want to be wider and more accessible," said Green. Sky, fiercely proud of its comprehensive coverage and reputation for innovation, has been withering in public and scathing in private about its new rival. The simmering enmity exploded on Thursday when the two broadcasters unveiled their first tranche of live matches for the opening weeks of the season. Sky Sports has bagged the managerial debuts of David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini, plus the second coming of José Mourinho, on the opening weekend. Their managing director, Barney Francis, said that contrary to BT's advertising strapline, its lineup of matches showed it was no "game changer" – the implication being that for all its big talk, BT offered little different to other former rivals such as Setanta and ESPN. BT Vision's chief executive Marc Watson hit back, saying the criticism, and a strategy he claimed was designed to "block" BT in the early part of the season, showed that Sky was deeply worried. "They've spent most of their time talking about us. I think they're pretty rattled. I know they're obsessed by us but we're not obsessed by them. We're obsessed by creating some great channels," he said. Asked what he thought of Sky's new Saturday schedule, which will segue from its Football League lunchtime match, to Soccer Saturday, to its new regular teatime live Premier League game and then Football First in front of a studio audience, Watson said: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Sky might say the same about some of the BT Sport schedule, particularly the decision to hire Tim Lovejoy to front a light-hearted Saturday morning show. BT had already announced plans for the former BBC F1 frontman Humphrey to anchor a programme in front of an audience to try to retain viewers throughout the day. Now Green says BT may not use a Top Gear -style audience after all. But whether it has enough high-quality content to convince avid fans they need it in addition to Sky, or casual fans to switch to BT Broadband, is the billion-pound question. BT has already invested well over that figure in getting the channels up and running, including acquiring the UK assets of ESPN . It is understood to be hopeful of adding a four-year contract for the FA Cup, perhaps in conjunction with the BBC, to its portfolio from 2014. BT has also spent a small fortune signing up ambassadors such as Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie, who will play as yet undefin

Vice All News Time13 July 2013 23:09:05


Premier League TV fixtures: Sky Sports block BT Sport by dominating best early season games

11 July 2013 13:23:26 Football - Fixtures, results, news, match reports, comment

Sky Sports block BT Sport from showing any matches between top four in opening round of live matches.        

Vice Football Time11 July 2013 13:23:26


Premier League TV fixtures: Sky Sports block BT Sport by dominating best early season games

11 July 2013 12:50:45 Sport

Sky Sports block BT Sport from showing any matches between top four in opening round of live matches.        

Vice Sport Time11 July 2013 12:50:45


Manchester United and Chelsea on Sky Sports and Liverpool on BT Sport in opening Premier League fixtures

11 July 2013 02:39:03 Sport | Mail Online

The TV fixtures announced on Thursday will kick-start the war between Sky Sports and BT Sport for Premier League supremacy. And Sky's first picks mean a low-key start for newcomers BT.

Vice Sport Time11 July 2013 02:39:03


Manchester United and Chelsea on Sky Sports and Liverpool on BT Sport in opening Premier League fixtures

11 July 2013 00:38:23 Football | Mail Online

The TV fixtures announced on Thursday will kick-start the war between Sky Sports and BT Sport for Premier League supremacy. And Sky's first picks mean a low-key start for newcomers BT.

Vice Football Time11 July 2013 00:38:23


Sky and BT embark on battle for the best live Premier League fixtures

19 June 2013 21:39:40 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

• Majority of BT's 38 games to be shown on Saturday lunchtimes • Sky confident experience of picking matches gives them edge The announcement of the Premier League fixture list will also sound the starting gun on a bitter battle over which matches are to be televised live between BSkyB and BT. The new broadcaster has gambled £738m on securing the rights to 38 live matches per season, but Sky Sports will still screen the lion's share, 116 games, under a domestic TV deal worth more than £3bn in total to Premier League clubs over the next three seasons. Unlike its predecessors which have failed in challenging in Sky, such as Setanta, or have opted not to compete head-on, such as ESPN, BT has trumpeted the fact that it has 18 "first-pick matches" among its rights. So although it will only air an average of one game a week, most of them in a Saturday lunchtime slot, it will be able to lay claim to meaningful matches involving some of the most attractive clubs. However, it will have to first negotiate the complex picking process in which Sky is confident that its two decades of experience will be brought to bear. Knowledge of which matches will be affected by police advice and other factors is crucial in second-guessing the knock-on effects of making certain choices, but BT will argue that it has plenty of expertise on board from former Setanta and Sky executives. Sky will be able to choose 20 rounds of fixtures in which it will have first pick of the matches on offer, while BT will effectively be left with the other 18 rounds – subject to various other complicating factors. Executives at both companies have been deciding for months how they will structure their approach, but it is only once the fixtures have been released that they can begin to properly plan their tactics in picking their first tranche of matches. One of the key decisions for both companies will be the extent to which they "frontload" their choices in order to start with a bang. BT, having spent heavily on marketing its new sports channels that will be offered free to subscribers to its broadband service, will be keen to make a statement of intent. During Setanta's ultimately doomed attempt to take on Sky's dominance its executives became so frustrated with the opposition's blocking tactics during negotiations over picks that it complained to the Premier League. The complex game of bluff and double-bluff is likely to take two or three weeks and result in a host of the matches announced morning being moved for the benefit of the cameras. The full list of the first tranche of televised matches is unlikely to be finalised until the first or second week of July. Gavin Patterson, the BT Retail chief who was heavily involved in the decision to bid for the Premier League rights as a driver for its broadband and "triple-play services", was named chief executive of the entire company. The new channels will launch in early August, broadcasting from new studios on the Olympic Park. As well as the Premier League, BT has secured exclusive rights to Premiership rugby and through a deal to acquire ESPN's UK business, coverage of the FA Cup and Scottish Premier League. Premier League BT Sport Sky Sports BSkyB Television industry Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 21:39:40


Sky and BT embark on battle for the best live Premier League fixtures

19 June 2013 21:32:07 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

• Majority of BT's 38 games to be shown on Saturday lunchtimes • Sky confident experience of picking matches gives them edge The announcement of the Premier League fixture list will also sound the starting gun on a bitter battle over which matches are to be televised live between BSkyB and BT. The new broadcaster has gambled £738m on securing the rights to 38 live matches per season, but Sky Sports will still screen the lion's share, 116 games, under a domestic TV deal worth more than £3bn in total to Premier League clubs over the next three seasons. Unlike its predecessors which have failed in challenging in Sky, such as Setanta, or have opted not to compete head-on, such as ESPN, BT has trumpeted the fact that it has 18 "first-pick matches" among its rights. So although it will only air an average of one game a week, most of them in a Saturday lunchtime slot, it will be able to lay claim to meaningful matches involving some of the most attractive clubs. However, it will have to first negotiate the complex picking process in which Sky is confident that its two decades of experience will be brought to bear. Knowledge of which matches will be affected by police advice and other factors is crucial in second-guessing the knock-on effects of making certain choices, but BT will argue that it has plenty of expertise on board from former Setanta and Sky executives. Sky will be able to choose 20 rounds of fixtures in which it will have first pick of the matches on offer, while BT will effectively be left with the other 18 rounds – subject to various other complicating factors. Executives at both companies have been deciding for months how they will structure their approach, but it is only once the fixtures have been released that they can begin to properly plan their tactics in picking their first tranche of matches. One of the key decisions for both companies will be the extent to which they "frontload" their choices in order to start with a bang. BT, having spent heavily on marketing its new sports channels that will be offered free to subscribers to its broadband service, will be keen to make a statement of intent. During Setanta's ultimately doomed attempt to take on Sky's dominance its executives became so frustrated with the opposition's blocking tactics during negotiations over picks that it complained to the Premier League. The complex game of bluff and double-bluff is likely to take two or three weeks and result in a host of the matches announced morning being moved for the benefit of the cameras. The full list of the first tranche of televised matches is unlikely to be finalised until the first or second week of July. Gavin Patterson, the BT Retail chief who was heavily involved in the decision to bid for the Premier League rights as a driver for its broadband and "triple-play services", was named chief executive of the entire company. The new channels will launch in early August, broadcasting from new studios on the Olympic Park. As well as the Premier League, BT has secured exclusive rights to Premiership rugby and through a deal to acquire ESPN's UK business, coverage of the FA Cup and Scottish Premier League. Premier League BT Sport Sky Sports BSkyB Television industry Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 21:32:07


ITV and England TV deal provides central platform for venting viewers | Owen Gibson

14 May 2013 17:52:38 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

ITV's shareholders will be pleased at channel's new four-year deal to broadcast England games. Viewers are not so sure With much of the attention in the sports broadcasting world focused on BT Sport's £1bn gamble in taking on Sky Sports , ITV executives were quietly tying up a deal that will make the broadcaster the home of all England's competitive internationals for the next four years. It means the broadcaster can market itself as the home of all England's competitive internationals, including the Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying competitions, and avoids the need to have to tie up individual deals for away matches on a match-by-match basis, as is currently the case. For ITV executives then, the £100m-plus deal is a cause for celebration. Judging by the reaction to date on Twitter and other social networks, viewers are not so sure. In ratings terms, live coverage of England's home internationals was the one part of ITV's controversial over-inflated £425m joint deal with the now defunct Setanta that unquestionably worked. When Setanta went bust , it picked up the rights to home friendlies too and later extended the deal for an extra two years to take it to 2014. Whatever the pressures on the international game, and it remains an open question just how much damage fixture overkill and the intermittent war between the biggest clubs and Fifa has done to its appeal to younger generations, live coverage of the national side remains "event" television that can be guaranteed to draw an audience even in a fragmented multichannel era. Uefa's new format for the qualifying stages – splitting matches into nine doubler headers that will be stretched across six days over a weekend – will also increase their appeal to viewers and broadcasters. While the World Cup and European Championship finals are listed events, meaning that they have to be shown on free-to-air TV, there is no such restriction on the qualifying stages. But Sky has long since decided that shelling out for live England matches does not drive subscriptions in the same way as regular European and domestic club football does, and focused instead on the other home nations to fill the gaps in its schedules when international week rolls around. Sky's deal for exclusive rights to all Scotland, Wales, Northern lreland and Republic of Ireland matches for the next four years continues the direction of travel of recent years. The deal also gives Sky an effective monopoly on the vast majority of qualifying matches involving other nations over the next four years. ITV4 can screen 20 matches involving other nations over the four-year period, while Sky will show more than 500. Being able to consolidate all England's competitive internationals, home and away, in one place for the next four years through Uefa's new centralised sales process should please ITV's shareholders and advertisers. How fans will feel is another matter entirely. The recent furore over the need to cut short Gabriel Clarke's interview with José Mourinho , just as it appeared the Portuguese was about to break every post-match convention in the book and actually reveal something interesting, reignited the debate about the quality of ITV's coverage. It has been dogged in recent years by the sort of unfortunate high-profile gaffes that tend to establish the sort of reputation that is difficult to shrug off. There was the fact that England's opening goal of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa against the USA was missed altogether by those watching in high definition and the Tic-Tac debacle of a year earlier when the broadcaster accidently switched to the ads just as Everton's Dan Gosling was breaking the deadlock deep into extra time of a Merseyside FA Cup derby . It can't very well help its business model, but for some those incidents somehow exemplified their other recurrent frustration with ITV's coverage – the constant advertising breaks that leave little time for the in-depth analysis they have become used to elsewhere. Others aim their ire at the talent on show, reserving particular vitriol for the largely inoffensive Andy Townsend (who has long since abandoned the tactics truck that proved such a lightning rod for criticism during that three-year sojourn when Premier League highlights were snatched by ITV ). Adrian Chiles as the main anchor and Clive Tyldesley as commentator also divide opinion, to put it politely. In truth, the pundit's sofa is one area where ITV has improved. The widespread agreement that Gary Neville has set a new bar for punditry on Sky has prompted others to up their game. Every time the insightful and engaging Lee Dixon appears onscreen he gives further credence to the theory that the BBC were mad to let him go (especially while continuing to employ some of the "golf club set" who appear to have immovable rights to occupy the Match of the Day banquette). And though he must be wary of becoming a caricature, the straight-talking Roy Keane has been a revelation, despite (or perhaps because) of his propensity to reduce his fellow pundits to gibbering wrecks. No matter how badly England play, and the current qualifying campaign has contained its obligatory quota of stultifying football and desperation alongside some moments of relief, viewers continue to tune in. Many appear to do so as an exercise in frustration and to give themselves something to complain about on Twitter or in the office. In that sense, maybe ITV are the perfect home for Roy Hodgson's England after all. England ITV channel Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time14 May 2013 17:52:38


ITV and England TV deal provides central platform for venting viewers | Owen Gibson

14 May 2013 17:50:59 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

ITV's shareholders will be pleased at channel's new four-year deal to broadcast England games. Viewers are not so sure With much of the attention in the sports broadcasting world focused on BT Sport's £1bn gamble in taking on Sky Sports , ITV executives were quietly tying up a deal that will make the broadcaster the home of all England's competitive internationals for the next four years. It means the broadcaster can market itself as the home of all England's competitive internationals, including the Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying competitions, and avoids the need to have to tie up individual deals for away matches on a match-by-match basis, as is currently the case. For ITV executives then, the £100m-plus deal is a cause for celebration. Judging by the reaction to date on Twitter and other social networks, viewers are not so sure. In ratings terms, live coverage of England's home internationals was the one part of ITV's controversial over-inflated £425m joint deal with the now defunct Setanta that unquestionably worked. When Setanta went bust , it picked up the rights to home friendlies too and later extended the deal for an extra two years to take it to 2014. Whatever the pressures on the international game, and it remains an open question just how much damage fixture overkill and the intermittent war between the biggest clubs and Fifa has done to its appeal to younger generations, live coverage of the national side remains "event" television that can be guaranteed to draw an audience even in a fragmented multichannel era. Uefa's new format for the qualifying stages – splitting matches into nine doubler headers that will be stretched across six days over a weekend – will also increase their appeal to viewers and broadcasters. While the World Cup and European Championship finals are listed events, meaning that they have to be shown on free-to-air TV, there is no such restriction on the qualifying stages. But Sky has long since decided that shelling out for live England matches does not drive subscriptions in the same way as regular European and domestic club football does, and focused instead on the other home nations to fill the gaps in its schedules when international week rolls around. Sky's deal for exclusive rights to all Scotland, Wales, Northern lreland and Republic of Ireland matches for the next four years continues the direction of travel of recent years. The deal also gives Sky an effective monopoly on the vast majority of qualifying matches involving other nations over the next four years. ITV4 can screen 20 matches involving other nations over the four-year period, while Sky will show more than 500. Being able to consolidate all England's competitive internationals, home and away, in one place for the next four years through Uefa's new centralised sales process should please ITV's shareholders and advertisers. How fans will feel is another matter entirely. The recent furore over the need to cut short Gabriel Clarke's interview with José Mourinho , just as it appeared the Portuguese was about to break every post-match convention in the book and actually reveal something interesting, reignited the debate about the quality of ITV's coverage. It has been dogged in recent years by the sort of unfortunate high-profile gaffes that tend to establish the sort of reputation that is difficult to shrug off. There was the fact that England's opening goal of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa against the USA was missed altogether by those watching in high definition and the Tic-Tac debacle of a year earlier when the broadcaster accidently switched to the ads just as Everton's Dan Gosling was breaking the deadlock deep into extra time of a Merseyside FA Cup derby . It can't very well help its business model, but for some those incidents somehow exemplified their other recurrent frustration with ITV's coverage – the constant advertising breaks that leave little time for the in-depth analysis they have become used to elsewhere. Others aim their ire at the talent on show, reserving particular vitriol for the largely inoffensive Andy Townsend (who has long since abandoned the tactics truck that proved such a lightning rod for criticism during that three-year sojourn when Premier League highlights were snatched by ITV ). Adrian Chiles as the main anchor and Clive Tyldesley as commentator also divide opinion, to put it politely. In truth, the pundit's sofa is one area where ITV has improved. The widespread agreement that Gary Neville has set a new bar for punditry on Sky has prompted others to up their game. Every time the insightful and engaging Lee Dixon appears onscreen he gives further credence to the theory that the BBC were mad to let him go (especially while continuing to employ some of the "golf club set" who appear to have immovable rights to occupy the Match of the Day banquette). And though he must be wary of becoming a caricature, the straight-talking Roy Keane has been a revelation, despite (or perhaps because) of his propensity to reduce his fellow pundits to gibbering wrecks. No matter how badly England play, and the current qualifying campaign has contained its obligatory quota of stultifying football and desperation alongside some moments of relief, viewers continue to tune in. Many appear to do so as an exercise in frustration and to give themselves something to complain about on Twitter or in the office. In that sense, maybe ITV are the perfect home for Roy Hodgson's England after all. England ITV channel Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time14 May 2013 17:50:59


BT Sport: what you will pay

10 May 2013 16:53:25 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

BT broadband customers get its three sports channels for free, so is it worth switching and what will you pay? BT has announced that its broadband customers will get free access to its three sports channels from 1 August. What sport will be available? BT is offering three channels – BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN – which will show a range of sport from football to women's tennis. The broadcaster has the rights to show 38 Premier League football matches and exclusive rights to show live games from rugby's Aviva Premiership. There will also be some FA Cup games and Scottish Premier League games. If you're a football fan you will probably want to run BT Sports alongside your existing Sky Sports package, if you have one. If you are a rugby fan you might just want BT Sports. How much will I have to pay? If you are a new customer the monthly cost of taking broadband from BT is £10 on copper broadband or £15 on superfast fibre broadband with capped usage, or £16 a month for unlimited usage. On top of that you will also face a line rental charge of £15.45. To get the sports offer you have to commit to a 12-month contract. Anyone who signs up before 1 August when the channels go live will get free HD channels for a year; those who sign up afterwards will need to pay £3 a month. When you join you will need to pay £6.95 P&P for the hub. That will be enough to let you watch the channels online. If you want to watch via your TV you will need to get BT TV. This costs £199 upfront with no contract, or £49 if you sign up for a TV package. The cheapest package is £5 a month and you need to sign up for a year. Signing up for BT Infinity, the package delivered through the fibre optic network, means an additional upfront "activation cost" of £30, while the alternative – watching through the TV aerial – will require you to buy a card for £10. Upfront costs can add up to more than £80. I'm already with BT for broadband and TV, will I get the channels automatically? No. You will need to commit to a 12-month broadband contract to get it, so you have to actively opt in to receive them. If, for example, you have two months left on an existing contract it can just be extended to 12 months; if you are two months into an 18-month contract you don't need to make any extra commitments. I'm with BT for broadband but have a Freeview box. What will I pay? You can watch the sports channels on your iPad or PC for free through an app. If you want to watch on your TV you will need a set-top box. This costs £199 upfront with no contract, or £49 if you sign up for a TV package. The cheapest is £5 a month and you need to sign up for a year. There are also upfront activation costs (see above). I'm with BT for broadband but have a Sky box. What will I pay? You can watch BT Sports through your Sky box for free. You just need to call and request it, giving the details of your set-top box. I'm with Sky for broadband, phone and TV. What would I pay to get the BT channels? It depends what you want to do. BT and Sky have done a deal to show each others channels, so you could stay with Sky and add the BT Sports package to your existing deal. This will cost £12 a month, or £15 if you want HD channels. If you decide to switch entirely you won't need to pay for a phone line, but you will need to pay for a new BT set-top box and pay all the activation costs detailed earlier. The cost of your line rental will also increase from £14.50 a month with Sky to £15.45 a month with BT, as will the cost of broadband, from £7.50 with Sky to £16 with BT. However, BT is offering free broadband for six months, and as such over the first year it claims that the full phone, broadband and TV package will cost £134.65 a year less. After that you will pay £76.50 a month to get a full package including Sky and BT's sports channels from Sky, and £73.95 a month to get it from BT. I'm with Virgin Media for everything. What would I pay to get BT Sports? Unfortunately at the moment you can't add BT Sports to your Virgin Media TV package, so you need to switch provider entirely if you want the deal. You will need a new phone line, which means an upfront charge of £30, and your line rental will go up from £14.99 a month to £15.45 (although you can reduce that to £10.75 if you pay for a whole year in advance). BT claims its total monthly cost of a TV, phone and broadband package including Sky Sports is £55.45, while with Virgin Media it is £66.74. If you wanted a package with TV, broadband and phone and just BT's sports channels, not Sky's, it would cost £35.45 a month at BT. Is this just a one-year deal or will I have to pay next season? BT says it has no plans to charge for sports next season, but the free HD offer will end after a year. After that, customers who want to continue with HD will pay £3 a month. The company has Premier League football rights for three years and the rugby rights for four years. Should I be worried about switching provider? We have had lots of complaints from readers who have tried to get BT phone lines fixed or installed in recent months , so you would be right to have reservations. However, BT says it has taken on new call centre staff and engineers to cope with the demand it expects, but if you want to make sure you get the channels in time for the start of the football season you would be wise not to leave it until the last minute. Household bills Internet, phones & broadband Consumer affairs BT Sport BT Telecommunications industry Sky Sports Television industry Premier League Rugby union Hilary Osborne guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time10 May 2013 16:53:25


BT Sport: what you will pay

10 May 2013 16:49:50 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

BT broadband customers get its three sports channels for free, so is it worth switching and what will you pay? BT has announced that its broadband customers will get free access to its three sports channels from 1 August. What sport will be available? BT is offering three channels – BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN – which will show a range of sport from football to women's tennis. The broadcaster has the rights to show 38 Premier League football matches and exclusive rights to show live games from rugby's Aviva Premiership. There will also be some FA Cup games and Scottish Premier League games. If you're a football fan you will probably want to run BT Sports alongside your existing Sky Sports package, if you have one. If you are a rugby fan you might just want BT Sports. How much will I have to pay? If you are a new customer the monthly cost of taking broadband from BT is £10 on copper broadband or £15 on superfast fibre broadband with capped usage, or £16 a month for unlimited usage. On top of that you will also face a line rental charge of £15.45. To get the sports offer you have to commit to a 12-month contract. Anyone who signs up before 1 August when the channels go live will get free HD channels for a year; those who sign up afterwards will need to pay £3 a month. When you join you will need to pay £6.95 P&P for the hub. That will be enough to let you watch the channels online. If you want to watch via your TV you will need to get BT TV. This costs £199 upfront with no contract, or £49 if you sign up for a TV package. The cheapest package is £5 a month and you need to sign up for a year. Signing up for BT Infinity, the package delivered through the fibre optic network, means an additional upfront "activation cost" of £30, while the alternative – watching through the TV aerial – will require you to buy a card for £10. Upfront costs can add up to more than £80. I'm already with BT for broadband and TV, will I get the channels automatically? No. You will need to commit to a 12-month broadband contract to get it, so you have to actively opt in to receive them. If, for example, you have two months left on an existing contract it can just be extended to 12 months; if you are two months into an 18-month contract you don't need to make any extra commitments. I'm with BT for broadband but have a Freeview box. What will I pay? You can watch the sports channels on your iPad or PC for free through an app. If you want to watch on your TV you will need a set-top box. This costs £199 upfront with no contract, or £49 if you sign up for a TV package. The cheapest is £5 a month and you need to sign up for a year. There are also upfront activation costs (see above). I'm with BT for broadband but have a Sky box. What will I pay? You can watch BT Sports through your Sky box for free. You just need to call and request it, giving the details of your set-top box. I'm with Sky for broadband, phone and TV. What would I pay to get the BT channels? It depends what you want to do. BT and Sky have done a deal to show each others channels, so you could stay with Sky and add the BT Sports package to your existing deal. This will cost £12 a month, or £15 if you want HD channels. If you decide to switch entirely you won't need to pay for a phone line, but you will need to pay for a new BT set-top box and pay all the activation costs detailed earlier. The cost of your line rental will also increase from £14.50 a month with Sky to £15.45 a month with BT, as will the cost of broadband, from £7.50 with Sky to £16 with BT. However, BT is offering free broadband for six months, and as such over the first year it claims that the full phone, broadband and TV package will cost £134.65 a year less. After that you will pay £76.50 a month to get a full package including Sky and BT's sports channels from Sky, and £73.95 a month to get it from BT. I'm with Virgin Media for everything. What would I pay to get BT Sports? Unfortunately at the moment you can't add BT Sports to your Virgin Media TV package, so you need to switch provider entirely if you want the deal. You will need a new phone line, which means an upfront charge of £30, and your line rental will go up from £14.99 a month to £15.45 (although you can reduce that to £10.75 if you pay for a whole year in advance). BT claims its total monthly cost of a TV, phone and broadband package including Sky Sports is £55.45, while with Virgin Media it is £66.74. If you wanted a package with TV, broadband and phone and just BT's sports channels, not Sky's, it would cost £35.45 a month at BT. Is this just a one-year deal or will I have to pay next season? BT says it has no plans to charge for sports next season, but the free HD offer will end after a year. After that, customers who want to continue with HD will pay £3 a month. The company has Premier League football rights for three years and the rugby rights for four years. Should I be worried about switching provider? We have had lots of complaints from readers who have tried to get BT phone lines fixed or installed in recent months , so you would be right to have reservations. However, BT says it has taken on new call centre staff and engineers to cope with the demand it expects, but if you want to make sure you get the channels in time for the start of the football season you would be wise not to leave it until the last minute. Household bills Internet, phones & broadband Consumer affairs BT Sport BT Telecommunications industry Sky Sports Television industry Premier League Rugby union Hilary Osborne guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time10 May 2013 16:49:50


Premier League and FA Cup: 10 things to look out for this weekend

10 May 2013 10:42:35 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

A weekend of farewells, death or glory for Wigan and why Emmanuel Adebayor could be the difference at Stoke City 1) The tears will flow like the Irwell at Old Trafford Sir Alex Ferguson is not the type to inspire sentiment. Nor to seek it. His abrasiveness and remorseless will to win at Manchester United for the best part of three decades have made him the subject of respectful admiration and/or fear and loathing, depending on your view-point. But since Wednesday's bombshell announcement that, from next season, he will no longer be a part of our sporting lives , everybody seems to have melted. It is partly because, for better or for worse, the seemingly indestructible Glaswegian has provided so many frames of reference that he came to feel strangely reassuring. Now that he is going, what certainties remain? In time, even his enemies will smile at the foibles and the bloodymindedness that have driven them to distraction. The sense of nostalgia is everywhere, which means emotion and, for the manager's last home game against Swansea City on Sunday, the prospect of grown men, whether United fans or otherwise, feeling lumps in their throats and wondering what they can do about them. Pass the hankie. David Hytner 2) Moyes will enjoy a send-off Only the hardest Evertonian would begrudge David Moyes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to manage Manchester United , especially after all that he has done at Goodison Park since his arrival from Preston North End in March 2002; the body-and-soul dedication and the consistent level of achievement. Few will be happy to see him leave but there cannot be the sense that he is somehow doing the dirty on them. It will be interesting to see how the club handles any ceremony in what will be Moyes' farewell game at Goodison against West Ham United on Sunday but it feels sure to be an occasion when the home crowd expresses its gratitude. DH 3) Wembley rising Roberto Mancini's record against Wigan is seven victories in seven games with 13 goals scored and none conceded since taking over as Manchester City's manager. And given the ease with which City dispatched another set of cup final virgins Stoke City in 2011 (only 1-0 but a one-sided match for more than three-quarters of it), a pragmatist would not bet against them winning their sixth FA Cup on Saturday evening. For City it will be interesting to see whether James Milner, one of the few who have been consistently better this season than last, makes the starting XI having played last weekend and on Tuesday night and if so, whether his muscular tenacity will be an asset on the right against Wigan's three-man defence and the attack-minded wing-back Jean Beausejour (if the Chilean passes a fitness test). Meanwhile, Wigan place their hope in James McCarthy, whose touch with both feet, range of passing, drive and vision have made a convincing argument that he would improve almost all other Premier League sides, and Shaun Maloney, the Aberdonian Juan Mata. Rob Bagchi 4) Death or glory? Wigan Athletic have eight days to make history. If they win the FA Cup final, but slip into the Championship next weekend, they will become the first club to exit the top flight as Cup winners. Six other clubs have faced a similar trajectory. Chelsea (1915), Manchester City (1926), Leicester City (1969), Brighton (1983), Middlesbrough (1997) and Portsmouth (2010) all achieved the counter-intuitive feat of making the Cup final but going down. None of them won the trophy, and Middlesbrough even lost the League Cup final for good measure. Premier League survival has been fetishised in recent years, with the forthcoming windfall from BT and Sky making top-flight football all the more valuable , but what should Wigan fans wish for: the first FA Cup trophy in their history or the comfort of another year in the Premier League? Paul Campbell 5) Newcastle face a test of nerve Given the club's recent home form and the attendant scars from the fixtures against Sunderland and Liverpool , it might feel opportune that Newcastle will seek to end the doubts about their Premier League status with a fixture at Loftus Road, and against the worst team in the division. Queens Park Rangers' season, in the words of their chairman Tony Fernandes, has been akin to a Shakespearean tragedy . But Newcastle will be stalked to west London by the nightmare scenario: lose and they would feel the jaws of relegation. All it could take thereafter would be a home defeat by Arsenal and a last-day home win for Wigan Athletic over Aston Villa. It is squeaky bum time and Newcastle must show the required composure to get a result against QPR. DH 6) Adebayor is belatedly on the up When teams go to Stoke City, there is always the temptation to pick the big men and it would be no surprise if the Tottenham Hotspur manager André Villas-Boas started Jan Vertonghen at left-back, recalled Steven Caulker in the centre and persisted with Tom Huddlestone in midfield. Emmanuel Adebayor, though, deserves to keep his place up front after his excellent performance at Chelsea and his mixture of aggression and finesse could prove to be crucial. The centre-forward has endured a difficult season but his focus is on finishing strongly. Tottenham are consumed by the need for a favour from elsewhere. They must do themselves one first at the Britannia Stadium. DH 7) The farewell will be more poignant at Villa Park It being Manchester United and Everton's final home games of the season, fans of both clubs have a last chance to see Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes patrolling their touchlines/complaining to the fourth official in their respective shrines this weekend. With Everton quiet on arrangements and United insisting there are no special plans for Ferguson, expect the works: chanting, guards of honour, giant banners and Bill Kenwright balling his eyes out. Yet the most poignant send-off of the weekend will be at Villa Park, where club captain Stilian Petrov will lead out the Villa players and their families for the traditional lap of appreciation at the end of Saturday's home match against Chelsea, following his retirement as he continues to battle acute leukaemia. Petrov's footbal

Vice All News Time10 May 2013 10:42:35


Premier League and FA Cup: 10 things to look out for this weekend

10 May 2013 10:33:58 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

A weekend of farewells, death or glory for Wigan and why Emmanuel Adebayor could be the difference at Stoke City 1) The tears will flow like the Irwell at Old Trafford Sir Alex Ferguson is not the type to inspire sentiment. Nor to seek it. His abrasiveness and remorseless will to win at Manchester United for the best part of three decades have made him the subject of respectful admiration and/or fear and loathing, depending on your view-point. But since Wednesday's bombshell announcement that, from next season, he will no longer be a part of our sporting lives , everybody seems to have melted. It is partly because, for better or for worse, the seemingly indestructible Glaswegian has provided so many frames of reference that he came to feel strangely reassuring. Now that he is going, what certainties remain? In time, even his enemies will smile at the foibles and the bloodymindedness that have driven them to distraction. The sense of nostalgia is everywhere, which means emotion and, for the manager's last home game against Swansea City on Sunday, the prospect of grown men, whether United fans or otherwise, feeling lumps in their throats and wondering what they can do about them. Pass the hankie. David Hytner 2) Moyes will enjoy a send-off Only the hardest Evertonian would begrudge David Moyes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to manage Manchester United , especially after all that he has done at Goodison Park since his arrival from Preston North End in March 2002; the body-and-soul dedication and the consistent level of achievement. Few will be happy to see him leave but there cannot be the sense that he is somehow doing the dirty on them. It will be interesting to see how the club handles any ceremony in what will be Moyes' farewell game at Goodison against West Ham United on Sunday but it feels sure to be an occasion when the home crowd expresses its gratitude. DH 3) Wembley rising Roberto Mancini's record against Wigan is seven victories in seven games with 13 goals scored and none conceded since taking over as Manchester City's manager. And given the ease with which City dispatched another set of cup final virgins Stoke City in 2011 (only 1-0 but a one-sided match for more than three-quarters of it), a pragmatist would not bet against them winning their sixth FA Cup on Saturday evening. For City it will be interesting to see whether James Milner, one of the few who have been consistently better this season than last, makes the starting XI having played last weekend and on Tuesday night and if so, whether his muscular tenacity will be an asset on the right against Wigan's three-man defence and the attack-minded wing-back Jean Beausejour (if the Chilean passes a fitness test). Meanwhile, Wigan place their hope in James McCarthy, whose touch with both feet, range of passing, drive and vision have made a convincing argument that he would improve almost all other Premier League sides, and Shaun Maloney, the Aberdonian Juan Mata. Rob Bagchi 4) Death or glory? Wigan Athletic have eight days to make history. If they win the FA Cup final, but slip into the Championship next weekend, they will become the first club to exit the top flight as Cup winners. Six other clubs have faced a similar trajectory. Chelsea (1915), Manchester City (1926), Leicester City (1969), Brighton (1983), Middlesbrough (1997) and Portsmouth (2010) all achieved the counter-intuitive feat of making the Cup final but going down. None of them won the trophy, and Middlesbrough even lost the League Cup final for good measure. Premier League survival has been fetishised in recent years, with the forthcoming windfall from BT and Sky making top-flight football all the more valuable , but what should Wigan fans wish for: the first FA Cup trophy in their history or the comfort of another year in the Premier League? Paul Campbell 5) Newcastle face a test of nerve Given the club's recent home form and the attendant scars from the fixtures against Sunderland and Liverpool , it might feel opportune that Newcastle will seek to end the doubts about their Premier League status with a fixture at Loftus Road, and against the worst team in the division. Queens Park Rangers' season, in the words of their chairman Tony Fernandes, has been akin to a Shakespearean tragedy . But Newcastle will be stalked to west London by the nightmare scenario: lose and they would feel the jaws of relegation. All it could take thereafter would be a home defeat by Arsenal and a last-day home win for Wigan Athletic over Aston Villa. It is squeaky bum time and Newcastle must show the required composure to get a result against QPR. DH 6) Adebayor is belatedly on the up When teams go to Stoke City, there is always the temptation to pick the big men and it would be no surprise if the Tottenham Hotspur manager André Villas-Boas started Jan Vertonghen at left-back, recalled Steven Caulker in the centre and persisted with Tom Huddlestone in midfield. Emmanuel Adebayor, though, deserves to keep his place up front after his excellent performance at Chelsea and his mixture of aggression and finesse could prove to be crucial. The centre-forward has endured a difficult season but his focus is on finishing strongly. Tottenham are consumed by the need for a favour from elsewhere. They must do themselves one first at the Britannia Stadium. DH 7) The farewell will be more poignant at Villa Park It being Manchester United and Everton's final home games of the season, fans of both clubs have a last chance to see Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes patrolling their touchlines/complaining to the fourth official in their respective shrines this weekend. With Everton quiet on arrangements and United insisting there are no special plans for Ferguson, expect the works: chanting, guards of honour, giant banners and Bill Kenwright balling his eyes out. Yet the most poignant send-off of the weekend will be at Villa Park, where club captain Stilian Petrov will lead out the Villa players and their families for the traditional lap of appreciation at the end of Saturday's home match against Chelsea, following his retirement as he continues to battle acute leukaemia. Petrov's football

Vice All News Time10 May 2013 10:33:58


BT promises free Premier League football on TV for the first time

10 May 2013 09:18:03 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

Telecoms company will bundle matches with broadband, in direct challenge to Sky's 20-year dominance of the game BT has launched the biggest challenge yet to Sky's 20-year dominance of British sports broadcasting, promising to "give football back to the nation" via live Premier League matches that will be free to its own broadband customers. Having won the rights to 38 live Premier League fixtures per season, the telecoms company is spending more than £1bn over three years to turn itself into a broadcaster, with Rio Ferdinand, David James and Michael Owen joining a team that will broadcast from London's Olympic Park. Three channels – BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and the ESPN channel in the UK and Ireland, which BT has acquired – will be available only via BT Broadband or through Sky's satellite dishes, and will broadcast the Premier League and FA Cup, as well as football from Germany, France, Italy, Brazil and Scotland's Premier League. It will also show women's tennis and women's Super League football as well as an array of minority sports from Moto GP to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It has invested heavily in rugby union, tying up exclusive coverage of the Premiership from next season and launching an audacious bid to establish a new European competition, as it attempts to succeed where Setanta and ESPN have previously failed in taking on Sky. Viewers who sign up for BT Broadband, which costs £10 a month for a standard connection and £15 a month for superfast fibre-optic lines, will not be charged, allowing BT to claim it is making Premier League football free for the first time in history. Homes that do not want a pay-TV package can either buy a set-top box or watch on tablets, phones and internet-connected TVs via the BT Sport app. Sky customers unwilling to switch to BT, whose own pay-TV service has limited access to Sky Sports in a contract that expires in 2016, will be charged from £12 a month on top of their satellite subscription. "UK sports fans have had a rough deal for too long," said BT's chief executive, Ian Livingston. "Many have been priced out of the market, but we will change this by giving away BT Sport free with our broadband. Sports fans are the winners today." At the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, the first signs of a legacy are emerging as tarmac is ripped up and replaced with turf and mature trees and BT prepares to move more than 300 staff into the former broadcasting centre, which will house a 7,000 sq metre facility about a third of the size of the BBC's Television Centre in west London. Lights, cameras and computers will be powered from renewable energy sources, and the building will contain the world's largest L-shaped studio with enough room for four tennis courts, should newly recruited tennis commentator Martina Navratilova be called on to demonstrate the speed at which she can still serve an ace. The hard hats will make way for microphones and clipboards on 1 July, when rehearsals begin before BT's first Premier League match on Saturday 17 August. Anchored by Jake Humphrey, who has been poached from the BBC, BT's presentation promises a new style of coverage. Its cavernous hi-tech studio will house a purpose-built artificial pitch, on which pundits including former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves and former England goalkeeper David James will physically demonstrate where players are going wrong. "After 20 years, it's time to shake things up," said James. Promising a more "open" and "inclusive" style of coverage than Sky, the telecoms company claimed customers who get their broadband and sports from Sky could save over £100 a year by switching. It insisted the complicated array of options on offer, including the availability of two different TV services – BT Vision and YouView – would not confuse consumers. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, who has brought in record TV rights income of around £5.5bn over the next three years, said it was a "very compelling proposition". In its 21 years, the Premier League has never been shown live on free-to-air TV and has been the engine that has powered Sky's dominance of the pay-TV landscape. With broadcaster Clare Balding joining former rugby international Lawrence Dallaglio and Humphrey in fronting the channels, BT said it would take its cue from coverage of the Olympics by giving it a more family-orientated feel and giving more airtime to women's sport. "BT has a huge advantage," said Balding. "Everyone knows what it stands for and everyone has already got it in their home. It is a British company and it is a very family-friendly company, and they will go about sports broadcasting in a way that will appeal across age groups and certainly to male and female viewers." Predicting the England women's team would win a world cup before the men's squad, Balding said the sponsorship of Women's Super League, announced on Wednesday, would help professionalise the sport. BT's impact is likely to be felt most strongly not in the living room but on the high street, where it will offer its content to pubs and clubs for as little as one fifth of the prices charged by Sky. Landlords will be offered 12 months for the price of nine, with free set-top box and installation. The telecoms group says its investment in sport is about attracting more broadband customers, rather than making a profit by selling channels. It has yet to negotiate distribution deals with Virgin Media and TalkTalk, both of whom offer Sky channels to their customers. Out of 20m homes with a broadband connection in the UK, BT already has 5m and the success of its £738m gamble on the three-year Premier League contract will be judged on whether that number rises. Sky, which will still screen 116 live games per season in a £2.3bn deal, was publicly dismissive of a challenge that it is taking very seriously behind the scenes. It noted that BT has had several attempts at making inroads into broadcasting in recent years, while it has stolen millions of broadband customers from its rival. "BT Sport is not 'free' and customers are smart enough to realise they'll pay for it through more expensive broadband and phone services," said Stephen van Rooyen, head of Sky's sales and marketing group. "For us, sport isn't a marketing gimmick to promote another product. We're long-term supporters and our sustained investment has benefited sports fans and British sport at all levels." BT Sport BT BT Vision Premier League Sky Sports BSkyB Telecommunications industry Television industry

Vice All News Time10 May 2013 09:18:03


BT Sport aims to tackle Sky head on

08 May 2013 20:32:36 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

Broadcaster has secured rights to 38 live Premier League matches, British rugby union and the women's tennis tour BT Sport, the new entrant into the pay TV market that plans to take Sky Sports head on, will offer its channels "as good as free" to existing customers in an aggressive bid to challenge the incumbent's two decades of sport broadcasting dominance. The broadcaster is expected finally to unveil details of its pricing plan and consumer proposition at an event at its Olympic Park studios , but it is understood that existing BT Broadband customers will be offered a substantial discount as it attempts to use its two new sport channels to woo new customers. Jake Humphrey, the presenter poached from the BBC to anchor coverage of the 38 live Premier League matches per season, for which it will pay £738m over the next three years, said that part of its mission was to democratise coverage of the top flight and make it more affordable for those who feel priced out by Sky's stranglehold on the best games. "The important thing for me is to make it as widely and easily available as possible. To me, Premier League football has to be more widely available," he told the Guardian. "It's the national game, it's the league in which our national team plays. People need to be able to get it as good as free. We want to make it as accessible as possible." In addition to its Premier League football rights, BT has secured all the live rights to domestic rugby union and the women's tennis tour. It has also bought the UK operations of ESPN, which gives it the rights to the FA Cup and Scottish football. BT face an uphill battle to succeed where Setanta and ESPN have failed, but claim that the 18 "first pick" matches per season will make their two sports channels attractive to subscribers. A war has already erupted between BT and Sky over the latter's refusal to take advertising for the new BT channels. "We are happy to take Sky's advertising but they seem afraid of taking ours," said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer division, when he submitted a formal complaint to Ofcom. "It's like a rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy." BT is confident that it can strike a deal with Sky to make its channels available through the satellite platform, but will offer big discounts to BT Broadband customers in a bid to counter Sky's relatively recent incursion into that market. Humphrey said that BT's coverage would have a different feel from Sky's high-octane approach, and would aim to be more inclusive and family-friendly. Clare Balding has also been hired to front a weekly sport talk show from its new studios on the Olympic Park, on which it has signed a 10-year lease. Alfredo Garicoche, who is general manager of BT Infinity, BT Sport and TV Marketing, said that the company wanted to reward its customers: "We have had a large customer base from many years, who are loyal to us. We will imprint into this our own style and we hope people will love it. "Our idea is to appeal to everyone. Our style is going to be different. We like to say it's sport with colour, sport with fun. More engaging and approachable, maybe. We like the word inclusive as well." BT Sport Sky Sports Sports rights Sport TV BSkyB Television industry Television Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time08 May 2013 20:32:36


BT Sport aims to tackle Sky head on

08 May 2013 19:56:31 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

Broadcaster has secured rights to 38 live Premier League matches, British rugby union and the women's tennis tour BT Sport, the new entrant into the pay TV market that plans to take Sky Sports head on, will offer its channels "as good as free" to existing customers in an aggressive bid to challenge the incumbent's two decades of sport broadcasting dominance. The broadcaster is expected finally to unveil details of its pricing plan and consumer proposition at an event at its Olympic Park studios , but it is understood that existing BT Broadband customers will be offered a substantial discount as it attempts to use its two new sport channels to woo new customers. Jake Humphrey, the presenter poached from the BBC to anchor coverage of the 38 live Premier League matches per season, for which it will pay £738m over the next three years, said that part of its mission was to democratise coverage of the top flight and make it more affordable for those who feel priced out by Sky's stranglehold on the best games. "The important thing for me is to make it as widely and easily available as possible. To me, Premier League football has to be more widely available," he told the Guardian. "It's the national game, it's the league in which all of our national team plays. People need to be able to get it as good as free. We want to make it as accessible as possible." In addition to its Premier League football rights, BT has secured all the live rights to domestic rugby union and the women's tennis tour. It has also bought the UK operations of ESPN, which gives it the rights to the FA Cup and Scottish football. BT face an uphill battle to succeed where Setanta and ESPN have failed, but claim that the 16 "first pick" matches per season will make their two sports channels attractive to subscribers. A war has already erupted between BT and Sky over the latter's refusal to take advertising for the new BT channels. "We are happy to take Sky's advertising but they seem afraid of taking ours," said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer division, when he submitted a formal complaint to Ofcom. "It's like a rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy." BT is confident that it can strike a deal with Sky to make its channels available through the satellite platform, but will offer big discounts to BT Broadband customers in a bid to counter Sky's relatively recent incursion into that market. Humphrey said that BT's coverage would have a different feel from Sky's high-octane approach, and would aim to be more inclusive and family-friendly. Clare Balding has also been hired to front a weekly sport talk show from its new studios on the Olympic Park, on which it has signed a 10-year lease. Alfredo Garicoche, who is general manager of BT Infinity, BT Sport and TV Marketing, said that the company wanted to reward its customers: "We have had a large customer base from many years, who are loyal to us. We will imprint into this our own style and we hope people will love it. "Our idea is to appeal to everyone. Our style is going to be different. We like to say it's sport with colour, sport with fun. More engaging and approachable, maybe. We like the word inclusive as well." BT Sport Sky Sports Sports rights Sport TV BSkyB Television industry Television Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time08 May 2013 19:56:31