For those who know me, you may be wondering why the World Cup is playing and yet I am not watching. There is one simple reason: I HAVE TO WORK. But, games are also played in the evening and on weekends, but I can’t always watch them. Why? Because they are only televised in Spain on the following three channels: Cuarto, la Sexta, and Canal+ Digital. Not everyone gets those stations. Cuarto is open and Canal+ is a pay-for channel. And guess what, they are owned by the same company (which is owned by the dude in Spain who owns everything including the government). La Sexta is a new station and does not have universal coverage. In the US (a non-soccer nation) you can see ALL of the games live. In Spain, not all of them are live and some are not even televised. Only Spain’s matches are showed live. Do Spaniard’s simply not care about the rest of the world?
Isn’t the World Cup an international event of important public interest? Why has FIFA permitted the rights to the event to be purchased by two channels who are not giving open access to the people. What would my revolutionary-fight-the-power brother think of this? Actually, a friend of mine has drafted a letter of complaint to FIFA. He suggests that anyone who is outraged should send the same letter (or similar letter) to FIFA in protest. Please find the letter here:
I am writing regarding the television coverage of world cup games in Spain and their live broadcast. It is my understanding that the rights and licenses were bought by three channels, namely ‘Cuatro’, ‘La Sexta’ and ‘Canal +’. The first two are free channels although most of the public had to buy a digital top-box to view ‘La Sexta’. I am of the firm belief that all the games should be available live without additional cost (than that of respective legal country specific costs such as a UK BBC license).
What seems to be happening here in Spain is that the monopoly belongs to Canal+ who are the only channel showing some of the prime games live. The first England game, for example, versus Paraguay was shown over 10 hours after the actual event, at 1.30 in the morning by ‘La Sexta’. Another of many examples, Argentina vs Netherlands was delayed until 11.30 at night which also makes it difficult for working people to enjoy. Many are 45 minute delays for some incomprehensible reason.If there were time delays due to different time zones I might understand, but as we share the same time zone I find it suspicious that between channel ‘Cuatro’ and ‘La Sexta’ all games can not be shown real-time. Could there be a vested interest due to the fact that the owner of Canal + is also the owner of ‘Cuatro’?
I hope this is not the case as I would like to see a fair coverage for the people of Spain without being forced to pay for the privilege of a live game. I look forward to your comments.