Channel 9, we’re a bit mad at you!

Filed in NRL by on March 23, 2014

Tonight, this story might reflect some of the frustration I am feeling following Parramatta’s loss to Manly this afternoon. While I am sure that there will be much talk about the quality of refereeing during that game, I was extremely proud of my team this afternoon. Both teams had missed opportunities, but frankly, following the last 2 seasons from the Eels, today gave me a lot of hope for the rest of this season.

By the time I finished watching the game at 6’oclock, I was frustrated. There may even have been some steam coming out of my ears.

The frustration could have come from a number of things – that I was hungry because I hadn’t had dinner yet, that I thought the refereeing was sub par or perhaps because I was forced to watch my football on delay.

Channel 9, I’m really angry at you.

Here we are in 2014 and we still have a delayed telecast for our football. I find it absolutely outrageous that NRL fans are still having to sit through a delayed telecast.

In an era where I can wake up early to watch the EPL live on Fox Sports, where I can watch television in High Definition and where I can stream games live on the internet, Channel 9 need to stop holding the game to ransom and give their customers what they want. What customers want is to watch live sport.

It is no longer good enough for Channel 9 to bury their head in the sand. It has to be recognised that the way Australians watch sport has dramatically changed in the last couple of years – largely because of social media. Now, when I watch sport, I watch with my mobile phone in hand – I like to tweet, both from the Ladies who League account and from my own personal account. I like to check Facebook. But most of all, I like to connect with other fans. This is the reality for most sports fans and the way that most of us have come to expect enjoying our sport.

This afternoon, I was unable to do so. I essentially had to put my phone away – stop tweeting, stop Facebooking and stop connecting with other people. Of course, I found this way to hard and lo’ and behold, the result was spoiled for me. Someone tweeted me about the ‘heartbreaking’ loss, just as I was about to start watching the second half.

Immediately, my afternoon was ruined.  It meant I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the game, because I knew that something would happen and that Parramatta were going to lose.

Let’s put the delay on hold for a moment. It’s bad enough that I am not able to watch my game live – but the series of ads I had to endure, when I knew that the game was already over, was infuriating. Ad, after ad after ad – it’s just not good enough.

We aren’t in the dark ages anymore and it is simply not acceptable to make NRL fans wait to watch their teams play. It’s not acceptable to make fans sit through advertisements. Why? Because the fans will start to desert you – firstly for online streaming services and then for other sports.

This has already started happening. The ratings for 4pm football have been a talking point for several months. It’s not because people don’t want to watch the footy – it’s because fans don’t like to be told how and when to watch.

I’ve heard the arguments about why we need delayed telecasts (especially from one of my favourites, Phil Gould), but in the end, the fans and the customers need to be satisfied.

Channel 9 and the administration can talk and talk and talk about how if you want a billion dollar television deal there need to be sacrifices. How the 4pm telecast is vital because of the advertising revenue it brings in.

Here’s a thought – while the billion dollar television deal was significant, did taking less money and taking more control over the product which we give to the fans ever come into consideration?

In a game which cannot possible function without the support of fans – how about we start putting them first?

This is an issue though which is unlikely to be resolved until the next TV deal though… so folks, perhaps schedule other activities in during Channel 9’s telecast – like cooking dinner or washing your hair (because you’ve certainly got enough time during those ad breaks to do so).


Ladies who League

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Comments (4)

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  1. mav63 says:

    Up here in Queensland we get to suffer the bully and bigot Ray Hadley call the footy, in standard definition. Channel 9 is a dinosaur just like its callers. Foxtel is streets ahead and with the new NRL mobile app maybe their NRL days are nigh. HD and Live coverage is what the fans demand Channel 9 has the available technology to bring that to us via their HD digital channels Gem and Go but alas they are stuck in 1976.

  2. Paul says:

    Agree with the article 100%.. My afternoon was ruined after flicking to the smh website during one of the interminable ad breaks about 5pm and saw the result front and centre.. Absolute disgrace and it’s disappointing Gus slavishly following the company line on this one. He’s normally good for fan perspective but he’s got it really wrong this time..

  3. Rover says:

    I completely agree and empathise with your point of view. As a Roosters supporter, we were treated to a shocker in terms of coverage on Friday night. After it took 120 minutes to finish off an 80 minute game (Rabbitohs vs Tigers), kick-off was delayed to around 10pm. Every 10 minutes of play was rewarded with 3-5 minutes of adverts, and the game finished after midnight. I was too tired and disgruntled to even process the fact that we’d won the game!

    Rugby league is an entertainment product, and in an age where a lot of other forms of entertainment are only a click away, this sort of exercise is amateurish and unprofessional. Why can’t [9] utilise their other channel to broadcast both games live on a Friday; isn’t it the self-proclaimed ‘Home of Rugby League’?! I can’t think of another major code across the world which treats it’s fans like this. There is literally no way to watch these games without having to travel to another state or territory – in your case, Manly territory.

    On another note, the similarity between the Broncos/Roosters and Sea Eagles/Eels games were their amazingly disciplined opponents. Manly went from conceding 18 penalties in the first 2 rounds to only 4 against the Eels, and the Broncos conceded 16 penalties in 2 rounds and only 3 against the Roosters. Mr. Griffin and Mr. Toovey deserve immense accolades for such a turnaround, or as the latter would claim, “There’s got to be an investigation into this!”


  4. Manly Fan says:

    Consider yourselves lucky up north, down here in Melbourne we had to wait for the baseball to finish before GEM would play the footy – it didn’t start until 5:20pm. The game was over for half an hour.
    But its still better than waiting until midnight like the dark ages, aka pre 2012.