I do see the FAI’s point that showing the games live online could affect attendances and could affect MNS viewing figures but I think this isn’t the case and they have got this one grossly wrong. In my opinion they should be thinking how to embrace the excellent work of SRFC TV and how other clubs can do something similar to enhance the interest in the league both at home and abroad.
I think the FAI should be providing a small grant for all clubs to set-up an online TV channel. I think the clubs should be asked to add this service to their main club website. The grant could be used for clubs to buy the necessary camera equipment and put in the necessary ISDN line and everything else needed for live streaming.
With video analysis becoming a big part of coaching in recent years most managers will ask for their clubs to provide them with DVD’s of the game each week so they can analysis it and use it as a coaching tool when they do video analysis with their players in preparations for the following game. With this in mind most clubs have somebody videoing games each week anyway so if they could put this on a live stream on the club websites as part of the club TV channel then this could be streamed to anybody who wants to watch the games outside of Ireland. You can easily block people on this island from watching the stream but we should be trying to promote to league to people living abroad. You can easily do this the same as the RTE player and BBC iPlayer can stop people in certain regions watching certain TV shows, so the current technology for live streaming in certain regions is already in place all we need to do is use it.
One of our Trim Hoops members is currently in Cambodia doing volunteer work and relied on SRFC TV to watch games every week but now he can only see Rovers games if they are on RTE which is a big disappointment to him and countless others who used SRFC TV around the world.
Then after MNS the clubs should be encouraged to post up extended highlights on the new club TV channels like SRFC TV do at the minute, this could be an official part of the media strategy for the league and it would bring traffic to main club website as well. The online channels should also be used for regular player interviews and coaching staff interviews as well as giving a view of what goes on behind the scences at the LoI clubs on a daily basis. Clubs should also be encouraged to post highlights from there U-19s and Women’s Teams games.
With children increasingly using the internet more and more each day the best way we can get them to fall in love with their local club rather than foreign teams is to provide them with enjoyable and interactive ways to stay in touch with the latest news and updates from their club. Most clubs are embracing Twitter and Facebook well at the minute and club TV channels would be a big boost to this and with the little or no coverage the league gets on national TV the internet is the best tool we have to market our clubs and our league.
I would urge the FAI to re-visit this decision, relax the rules on it and use SRFC TV as a benchmark for other clubs and then work with clubs to develop their online TV channels.
Keep on Hooping!