Posted 4th November by ORSA Secretary
The situation of the Rangers 3pm Home Games having no live TV Coverage seems unlikely to be resolving itself any time soon.
Firstly, the problem is not directly with Setanta Australia (although the advertising of Rangers games and the call centre ‘scripts’ and complaint handling could be improved). The contractual situation is that the SPL (not Rangers) sells overseas rights to Sportfive. Sportfive are the world's no.1 football agency and Europe's leading sports rights marketing company. Sportfive sub-license the SPL rights to various satellite TV companies including Setanta Australia. To my knowledge, Sportfive have the rights to around 60 live SPL games per season including 5 home games at Ibrox. Rangers and Setanta Australia have no direct contract.
The technical situation is that ESPN and SKY TV don't have rights to any SPL 3pm home games (to keep match day attendances high). Thus there is no outside broadcast unit present at these games. Rangers pay a 3rd party production company to do the camera work then and use their own broadband uplink/server for the Rangers TV link to overseas subscribers and more recently, NARSA. (N.B NARSA member clubs pay a fee for this directly to Rangers and the members then pay to watch every game at their local RSC).
The situation then appears to be that there is not a satellite uplink to enable the games to be broadcast overseas (and reading between the lines Rangers allowing access to the camera production outputs which they set up and pay for). ORSA is currently waiting for a response from Sportfive (Asia and UK account managers) however we seem to no closer in getting a resolution for this Saturday’s game (Dundee United) or other 3pm home games that allows them to be broadcast via Setanta Australia.
From the outside looking in, it appears to be a bit of a contractual nightmare where a major broadcaster (Setanta Australia) promotes and builds a following for the SPL (and at present sub-licenses the rights till season 2013-2014) but then can’t show certain games to an eager and willing audience who undoubtedly make up a large number of their subscribers (and then they wonder why Scottish Football is slowly dying!!!).
From a contractual, technical and financial perspective, I’d suggest that these are the hurdles however as you’d imagine nobody wishes to confirm specifics about contracts:
- Negotiating extra ‘live’ SPL games at Ibrox would follow the path of: Sportfive > SPL > Rangers (and other relevant clubs who make up the opposition)
- Costs associated with providing the satellite uplink truck to beam the signal (assuming Rangers allow access to feed from their camera production set up which they pay for). This follows a path of Outside Broadcast Company - Satellite Uplink > Sportfive > Overseas TV Companies including Setanta Australia.
ORSA is actively seeking to resolve this issue for its members and for all the down under bears. What we don’t want to do however is put fiscal pressures on the club given the well publicised precarious financial position. For this reason, we’re working with the club on ways in which the Rangers TV service can become a viable and reliable choice for the Rangers Family down under given the notoriously expensive broadband plans and poor speeds (even in metropolitan areas). To see how you can be part of the solution to this other part of the equation, see our other article about the Rangers TV tests that we're in the process of arranging with the club.