This week, England and Ukraine fans will only be able to watch their qualifying match for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa on the world wide web. Due to a lack of interest in terrestrial TV broadcast, the owners of the rights to the match, Kentaro, have decided to contract out to Perform, who have previously streamed UEFA cup matches featuring English teams, to stream the match live across the Internet.
The cost to viewers who are interested in watching the match, will be £4.99 up until at least Thursday 8th October, after which the price will be subject to change. The price quoted for a purchase on the match day is a whopping £11.99.
Without giving blame to anybody, it's fair to say the fans will lose out most. The FA's spokesperson, Adrian Bevington says: "We would obviously like to see the game broadcast to as many people as possible," however, he concedes that despite knowing that a traditional platform on terrestrial TV is the best option, it is not always under their control.
ITV's current deal includes home England matches and away friendlies, but not away qualifying matches.
Fortunately for some people, namely Bet365 customers, the match is also being streamed free for some. If you are a Bet365 customer with a funded account*, then you may well be entitled to watch the game free of charge.
The executive chairman of Perform, Andrew Croker, told the BBC: "I think people want a choice - the chance to watch football in a different way. This is pioneering, very exciting and I think people will enjoy it." However, English fans will argue that there is no choice here While this new technology may have to be embraced, and welcomed in the future, many England fans and pubs, who would normally have shown the live match and generated revenue from it, will most likely be high and dry on Saturday afternoon.
England fans can go to ukrainevengland.com/ to watch the match and pre-order it.
*- go to www.bet365.com for terms, no responsibility is taken for updating the terms of this offer.