Really, should it be this difficult? It’s the question I ask myself every time I come up against fight weekend.
In the spirit of full disclosure I bloody hate BT, they made my life an utter misery when I’d been made redundant and was running my own business. Their repeated failure to deliver broadband or a consistent phone line was quite unreal and only after over a month of arguing with people in India did I find out there is a team who do the same job in the UK but they only let you have access to them if you’ve had enough problems and complained enough.. unreal. This is why I don’t have BT sport.
Now all that said I have seen BT sport and believe me, Gareth A Davies is not a man who should be on TV, no comment on how he looks on screen, that’s not my issue, my issue is his odd, awkward delivery, stilted interviews and the fact he’s clearly backed by a team who would struggle to get a job on a shopping channel. Gareth is actually the best thing they have though.
The BT Sport deal made absolutely no sense. They wanted market share and went with the bidder who was paying the least in real terms and offered them the smallest audience share, the Channel 5 deal made much more sense and put them on network TV which is their business model in the USA and Latin America.
Let’s park that and just imagine we are back in the pre BT sport days, as we all were before last year. Why has the UFC consistently made it damn near impossible to see their product over here, you have never been able to do PPV through their site in the UK, they have done sporadic deals with channel 5 (the last one being the single worst piece of TV I think I’ve seen). Yet they still have an audience over here, a dwindling one but its still there and big enough to warrant doing events in the UK and Ireland so why do they seem hell bent on limiting their audience?
So come fight weekend there I am, realising I’m not watching anything other than the fight pass prelims live. I pay for fight pass and I’m happy to pay the UFC if they want to charge me for a live PPV. So what are the options? Go to a mates house to watch it? Well most people I know are casual fans at best, at worst, not bothered in the slightest until I explain I’m bringing beer. Next option, live streaming… Illegal, unstable poor quality and ultimately it takes too much time to find a good one. Final option? Downloading after the event which means avoiding social media (easier now I’ve removed myself from Facebook) and waiting until a good copy has been uploaded or waiting until a guy I know has done a rip that he gives me on a memory stick.
These are not good things for the UFC, for fans or for the growth of the sport.