This weekend’s England football international will be broadcast exclusively live over the internet for the first time. Media group Perform is to stream Saturday’s away clash against Ukraine on a pay-per-view basis, charging viewers from £4.99 to watch the game live on their PCs or laptops. A maximum of one million subscribers would be taken for the match. This is the “safe number to stop at to ensure the optimal broadcast” the company said. Perform streams more than 15,000 events a year, with millions of site users a month. The move follows the collapse of pay-TV platform Setanta earlier this year, which had been due to broadcast the World Cup qualifier.
International football agency Kentaro had sold the broadcast rights of the fixture to Setanta, and after the collapse failed to agree rights offers with any of the more traditional broadcasters such as BBC, ITV and Five.
England have already qualified for the 2010 World Cup, winning all eight of their group matches.
The spectacular collapse of Setana, collapse in ad market and the switch to web may have triggered this but web-only rights and broadcasts will now be a permanent fixture for every sports business agenda. 10 years ago this was unthinkable: major sports events with web only rights. But today media groups need to look at these online options as core magnets within a richer blend of web programming. They need to become far more savvy about what they use 3rd party content for, andhow they make the most value for their audiences.