Subject: UEFA and PPV games
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 21:00:28 GMT
From: Ricardo de Queiroz 

I recall reading that UEFA opened the doors to PPV for games where low
audience would not draw attention of sponsors. 

I understood that FIFA contract with ABC for exclusive transmission
rights of WC 2002 2006 has special clauses forbidding PPV, among other
rules to encourage spreading footbal (such as free retransmission to
Africa and such).

Is there anything that can be done to stop PPV games? I think they are
the beginning of the end of sports on free TV and perhaps on sports as a

I am tracing a parallel to boxing matches in US. I used to watch those
for free  overseas. In the US they switched to PPV and it costs
something like US$30-50 to watch a single match. As a result, I stopped
watching and not many people I know even knows what is going on and most
haven't seen a fight in years. I am counting those that used to watch
when they were free. I think expensive PPV undermines the fan basis,
particularly among younger generations (not hooked yet), but enriches
the promotors in their life time in expense of the public until the
sport loses its appeal to the public (several years span). 

I think that might occur to footbal. In the US, there are predictions
that with escalating sports costs, sports like american football and
basketball playoffs on TV are seeing the edge of the cliff. Some predict
3 more years (seasons) based on estimates of increasing fees and demand
for advertisement space in those events. 

Yesterday, British Sports Minister, Mr. Banks, also voiced his concern
about expensive tickets for FA games. Now imagine when the TV charge
escalates too, making it VERY expensive to even watch it on TV. 

In the US, at least where I live, a movie (bad one) is like $4-5. Even
wrestling (I am talking about those WWF Hulk-against-Dennis-Rodman-type
disgusting events) can be as much as US$30. What is the average charge
for PPV soccer games in Europe? In the US there is none so I can't tell. 


Subject: Re: UEFA and PPV games
Date: 7 May 1997 08:38:55 -0700
From: (Oliver Tse)

FIFA's contract worldwide except the US in 2002 and 2006 is with Leo
Kirch, not ABC.   The US rights have yet to be sold.  

In the US, both Disney (ABC/ESPN) and NewsCorp (FOX) are interested
in the rights.

The FIFA/Leo Kirch deal forbids PPV, but allows for pay cable/satellite
TV (such as the ESPN and FOX family of sports channels available
aroud the world except Europe).

Many are predicting that most league matches hosted by big
teams (such as Manchester United) will end up on WORLDWIDE 
SATELLITE TV PAY-PER-VIEW.  That's why Rupert Murdoch 
and General Motors (DirecTV) are racing each other to establish
direct-to-home satellite TV systems around the world.  

Currently, a number of soccer matches are available in the US live only
via closed-circuit satellite TV pay-per-view at bars, restaurants,
and pubs.  Cost is around $10-$20 per match.  You can bet 
those matches might end up on direct-to-home satellite pay-per-view
in the near future. 

Boxing has all but disappeared from mainstream sports TV thanks
to pay-per-view.  Things [in basketball and American football] have 
gotten out of hand.  However, both the NFL and the NBA are having 
no trouble getting the rights fees that they demand for now.  We'll 
see what happens.

Subject: Re: UEFA and PPV games
Date: 7 May 1997 18:28:05 GMT
From: (Bruce Scott TOK )

In last year's UEFA final, the first leg played in Munich was on the
German PPV channel, Premiere (note, this is not actually PPV but it is a
pay-separate channel, over and above the usual cable service you also
have to pay for, eg, Eurosport; it is expensive, ca 60 DM per month).

Bundesliga matches are usually also on Premiere, a serious warning sign,
although the open channel Sat 1 still has the rights to 5 or 6 matches
per season.  The most passionate display of disgust by fans I've seen in
9 years in the Munich Olympiastadion was the reaction to the
announcement that this first UEFA final match was to be shown on
Premiere.  It happens that the Austrian public channel, ORF 1, also had
it, and they won favor with Munich fans by thumbing their noses at an
offer by Premiere to buy them out (you can get ORF 1 and 2 from Munich).

Premiere relented trying to get the rights to the Eurocup matches after
that, since they don't really need the bad publicity.  They are losing a
lot of money (ca 1 million DM/yr), and make most of what they do make
from movies and porn.  Good riddance if they actually do go under.  They
tried to get some "subsidised" loan from the state bank in Bavaria, and
tried to keep it quiet, but people found out and it was quite a scandal,
I hear (the Premiere owner/CEO and the Bavarian finance minister are
unhealthily close).  Unfortunately, I know few details.  Bloody corrupt
bastards trying to take over the airwaves at public expense, and that
not even so indirectly.

Subject: Re: UEFA and PPV games
Date: 7 May 1997 21:11:24 GMT
From: (Dustin Christmann)

Oliver Tse wrote:
>Boxing has all but disappeared from mainstream sports TV thanks
>to pay-per-view.  

Usually, it's only fights between fighters that you have to be a big fan of
boxing to know about that appear on free TV or basic cable channels (like
ESPN, USA Network, or the regional sports networks).  A fight between two
remotely well-known fighters will almost always be PPV.

And it's killing the sport of boxing more quickly than any doctors' associa-
tion could hope to.  Fewer and fewer youths are going into boxing, and when
NBC showed almost no boxing during its 1996 Olympics coverage, the USA team
complained, boxing fans complained, and a few general sports fans complained,
but few other people did, and Olympic boxing, which was a staple of Olympics
TV coverage in USA for the past 20-25 years, spotlighting up-and-coming
fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard and Evander Holyfield, was all but ignored
in 1996.

Even the PPV money is starting to dry up in boxing.  PPV fights routinely
attract fewer viewers than expectations, and only the biggest fights, like
Tyson-Holyfield and De La Hoya-Whittaker draw lots of PPV interest.  Quite
simply, the PPV fights are too expensive and there's waning interest in
boxing -- which was caused by PPV in the first place.

Eventually, market forces will bring boxing back to earth.  Soon, only the
biggest fights will be on PPV, and for a lower cost than today.  But in the
process, boxing will have lost a GREAT deal of popularity.

I'm sure that the bigwigs at the NFL and NBA have seen how oversaturation
of PPV has marginalized the sport of boxing, and will likely reserve PPV for
only their biggest games, like the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals.  But they've
seen the future in mini-dish systems and have got their PPV hooks in, in the
form of nominally priced "packages," with the allure of being able to see
out-of-market games that you wouldn't normally be able to see.

And as long as pay TV stays that way, supplementing the offering of main-
stream outlets, rather than replacing them, it's probably a good thing.
In other words, I wouldn't mind paying $69 a season to see the out-of-town
MLS games I couldn't see last season.  I would mind it if it were the only

Subject: Re: UEFA and PPV games
Date: 9 May 1997 00:23:01 -0700
From: (Ariel Mazzarelli)

Oliver Tse wrote:
>I should have said "big time boxing".  All the "marquee" fights 
>are now PPV.  International soccer (football) may be headed
>the same way in two or 3 years.  There is too much greed out
>there for this NOT to happen.

Well then we'll just have to make a choice between developing
alternatives or not giving a fuck anymore, right?

At this moment, the only reason I keep a TV in the house is for futbol,
and the ridiculous swapping of players is making club matches ridiculous.
I occasionally catch a Bundesliga match, I always watch Futbol de 1a
because it comes straight from Argentina (I might drop this if they start
using their generic announcers on Pigfucker's (aka Rupert) network).
I don't watch the futbol from Espa~a because the squads are just a
bunch of mercenaries that barely know one another. The rest is just
poor quality.

Don't really need to talk about the USA's MLS, do I? Actually I like to
watch this one while channelsurfing trying to catch a laugh or a play by
a good player that is several layers above the rest (eg Valderrama gets a
look if I see him on the screen).

The only reason national squad futbol is interesting is because the
squads are not allowed to swap players between each other. Unfortunately
they are all trying to play speculative futbol nowadays (with the usual
exceptions, but we knew we were in trouble when the brasucas got boring).
Thanks to Passarella, there hardly remain any national squads really worth
watching. I like Peru, actually, but they might not even make it to France,
so there you are.

If they want to ruin futbol, we'll find something better to do. If *I*,
total addict, feel that way, imagine those that are not so addicted.

In addition, if you can't afford the ppv, you just can't afford it.
When nobody watched the game you watched, there's nobody to talk about
it with, and the game automagically becomes uninteresting.

Yesterday I heard the Lakers were still in the playoffs. When Magic was
there, I gave a fuck. In fact, I gave a fuck for about 15 years. Then I
saw the end of the game become a dreadful commercial blitz glop, and I
stopped giving a fuck. I got into hockey for a couple of years, and then
they started filling the screen with an ad immediately (as in, faster than
the eye blinks) after a goal, blocking celebrations and replays and shoving
an ad in your face. I don't give a fuck about hockey anymore.

Now they want to ruin futbol? Fine. The world is a big place. If another
Diego comes along I will watch him, otherwise I'll just find something better
to do, as will most other people. There once was no futbol, and if it dies,
it won't be the first good thing that got killed by rich people nor the last.

At this moment I am listening to an Alan Watts lecture on the radio.
He is describing how monotonicity causes something to recede into the
background of consciousness, so that you don't miss it anymore.
It's much more fun than watching Eurogenerica vs. Realgenerica pseudolive
or payperview with generic nonlocal commentators on Pigfucker's network.

Subject: Re: UEFA and PPV games
Date: 8 May 1997 18:28:26 GMT
From: (Bruce Scott TOK )

This is the problem: people are giving in.  If we all simply refused 
to pay for these systems, the companies who push them will go out of 
business and we will be rid of them.

No way I am ever buying satellite TV.

Subject: Re: UEFA and PPV games
Date: 9 May 1997 01:59:55 -0700
From: (Oliver Tse)

So you would rather hand your money over to the cable TV 
monopolists/criminals so that they'll have the cash to 
upgrade their systems to "digital" so that they too 
can participate in the worldwide futbol pay-per-view TV madness?

Take a look at what Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) is doing in 
Fremont, California and Hartford, Connecticut:  upgraded digital 
cable TV systems with capacity for over 200 channels, but 
150 of them are reserved for pay-per-view.  
What's worse, usually 4 or 5 PPV channels air the
SAME movie, but the channels are staggered so that
the movie starts every 30 minutes.
Customers got the same old crappy cable channel
selection after the upgrade.  That's typical behavior for 
the company known throughout the Internet and beyond 
as "Television Criminals Incorporated".

People are buying satellite TV systems in the US now because the systems
offer more stuff for less money than what the cable TV monopolists
are offering.  People are fed up with the cable TV criminals.
They are handing their money over to the satellite TV 
moguls instead.  This is capitalism.  Pure and simple.

So what if Rupert Murdoch, General Motors, etc. are building 
audiences for worldwide futbol satellite TV pay-per-view?  The consumers
still hold the trump card when it comes to pay-per-view:  we decide
whether we want to hand over the cash or not.  No one is pointing a gun
to our heads telling us that we have to pay US$29.99 to watch
the Copa America final, Manchester United vs Liverpool, 
Real Madrid vs Barcelona, or Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund 
on pay-per-view.

Market forces will determine whether the pay-per-view TV pirates, 
whether they use cable, satellite, or smoke signals to transmit 
their "entertainment products", will be able to get away with what they
are doing.  

Look what's happening in Italy, where people are rejecting the
Telepiu Calcio out-of-market Serie A pay-per-view TV package (typical PPV
TV audience for each match is around 150).  The Murdochs, Kirches,
Berlusconis, Malones, and Hartensteins of the world can't afford to 
lose US$100 million a year forever.

Subject: Re: UEFA and PPV games
Date: 9 May 1997 15:59:31 GMT
From: (Bruce Scott TOK )

OK, Oliver, you can get off your high horse.  Read Ariel's post... his
position is very close to mine.  If cable in Germany ever moves in that
PPV direction you talk about, I'll simply refuse to pay and move along.
Maybe I'll just read more Chinese and Central Asian history again.
Meanwhile, I'll keep supporting FC Bayern in a local capacity... that
is, unless they do with ticket prices what the NFL has done in the US.
Like Ariel with basketball, I simply do not follow the NFL anymore.