UKRAINE V ENGLAND WORLD CUP QUALIFIER GAME TO SCREEN ONLINE ONLY
Ben Jensen in Edinburgh 5 October 2009

By Ben Jensen UKRAINE AND ENGLAND'S 2010 World Cup Qualifying game will be screened on a pay per view online basis only, costing up to 11.99 (which was the price of a Setanta subscription) to watch on their computer screen. Limited to 'only' a million subscribers, the game is being marketed by major print media including The Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express. Prior to it going bust, Setanta had the rights to all England away friendly games, aquired from the FA, and had also individually aquired all World Cup Qualifier away games from various other countries' FA's including Ukraine. While ITV snapped up the rights from the FA, they and all other TV broadcasters (including BBC, ITV, Sky, Five, Four, ESPN) declined the Ukraine FA's offer, deeming it too expensive for a dead rubber. A Ukraine-appointed company called Kentaro sold the rights to the Perform group, who will charge $4.99 for 'early bird' subscribers but as much as $11.99 for the 90 minute match. The game will be broadcast on www.ukrainevengland.com.

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson will be diviing up his week between running Notts County and being a pundit for the match, leaving many former Setanta Sports viewers bemused, recalling 'his' performances on 'I am on Setanta Sports' with the likes of 'Wayne Rooney' and 'Jose Mourinho'.

Little-heard of Internet outfit Kentaro managing director Peter Silverstone believes this event is not so much a disgrace but a "landmark" for football and television. "We feel this is the most viable way of delivering an England match direct to the fans," he said. "You will watch as you would any other streaming on the internet, like YouTube or the BBC iPlayer - there will be a pop-up player that will show the match in a very good quality stream."

England fans however do not quite share the same view, and instead describe what has occured as a "failing of common sense on the behalf of the FA. The BBC should have stepped in, and for the sake of a few hundred thousand quid provided a workable solution for England fans", said Buckinghamshire based Euan Dukes.

Silverstone believes he is going to cash in on the event, despite the negative overtonies. "We have a huge marketing effort behind us with the various newspaper groups that will promote the match on their websites. Commercially this will work and genuinely offers an exciting opportunity for us. We wouldn't embark on this project if we didn't feel it had strategic long term value, this isn't a 'one off' shot."

It should be noted the Odeon movie theatre chain will be showing the game on their screens, the price for which has not been advised just yet. We can just imagine drunken yobs in Gold Class having a grand old time; perhaps it will take off.

Odeon Cimenas: http://www.odeon.co.uk/fanatic/film_info/m12403

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