England game only available on the Internets - **Spoilers**

Soldato
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England's World Cup qualifier away in Ukraine on Saturday will be shown exclusively live to subscribers on the internet who will pay at least £4.99.

All previously broadcast England matches have been available on TV.

Kentaro - an international agency appointed by the Ukrainian Football Federation - originally sold the UK rights for the game to Setanta.

But after the pay-TV firm collapsed, digital sport specialist Perform was appointed to stream the match online.

England have already qualified for the 2010 World Cup, winning all eight of their group matches.

It is understood none of the traditional broadcasters were willing to pay the asking price to screen the game, which kicks off at 1715 BST.

But the news has angered supporters who want to watch the action on television.

FA does not control away rights - Bevington

The match will be available on a dedicated website and viewers will be able to subscribe to it using PayPal, the electronic payment service.

Peter Silverstone, managing director of Kentaro, told BBC Sport: "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."

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is part of the studio team for the match, while Kentaro has promised "a top commentary team".

The cost of watching the game was being advertised on Monday in the Daily Express as £4.99 if viewers signed up before midnight on Wednesday.

Charges rise to £9.99 for those who subscribe on Thursday and Friday, and £11.99 on Saturday.

Silverstone insisted the project was "commercially viable".

"We have a huge marketing effort behind us with the various newspaper groups that will promote the match on their websites," he said.

"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."

Silverstone said Kentaro would take a maximum of one million subscribers for the match - which he said equates to about 2.5 million viewers - because this would be the "safe number to stop at to ensure the optimal broadcast".

The Odeon cinema chain will show the game live throughout the country, including at their flagship cinema at Leicester Square, but the match will not be available in pubs.

Football Association spokesman Adrian Bevington admitted: "We would obviously like to see the game broadcast to as many people as possible" but insisted the matter was out of his organisation's hands.

"These are the rights of the Ukrainian FA and the agents they've appointed to sell them," he told BBC Sport.

"A traditional TV platform would be ideal to broadcast the game but it's not the case. It's not in our control."

A World Cup qualifier should be available for everybody on free to air TV

ITV has the rights to home England games and, under the terms of their contract, has taken over Setanta's broadcast rights for away friendlies.

However, that aspect of the deal does not cover away qualifying games, and neither the BBC, ITV, Sky nor Channel Five made a successful bid for the match.

Perform streamed Manchester City and Spurs matches in the Uefa Cup last year when a TV deal could not be agreed - charging about £4 per game - and Bevington insisted: "We're obviously confident in the company that has got the rights - they're a very professional company".

However, travelling England fan Mark Perryman said the fact the match was available only on the internet was "disastrous and an outrage."

"A World Cup qualifier should be available for everybody on free-to-air TV," Perryman told BBC Sport.

"It seems to me there's a very simple solution - Fifa and Uefa should insist as a condition of entry that all nations sell their games to terrestrial stations, whether its the home or away market."

England defender Rio Ferdinand said he thought the broadcasting of the match marked "a good step forward" though.

"I read that online advertising has taken over from TV, so that tells you something about where it's going in terms of the digital world," he told BBC Sport.

"So I'm sure it'll be the way forward and in the future it'll probably be the reality. I think it's a good way to gauge how many people are interested."

And Andrew Croker, executive chairman of Perform, insisted England fans would "embrace" the internet broadcast.

"I think consumers are pretty sophisticated now, particularly in the UK, where we have been in the vanguard of adopting new technology," he told BBC Sport.

"I think people want a choice - the chance to watch football in a different way. This is pioneering, very exciting and I think people will enjoy it."

Wonder how many people will actually bother now that we're qualified?
 
Don
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It is a bit ridiculous that it's only available to stream - if this happens more in the future, how will people watch it in the pub unless they have a computer hooked into the AV (Unlikely)?
 

daz

daz

Soldato
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Won't someone just transcode the feed and make it available for free or for a smaller fee?
 

daz

daz

Soldato
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This is what cloud computing was invented for - $0.40 per hour per server... setup 100 servers for 2-3 hours... transcode the feed on one server, push it to the other 99, make people click a Google advert to view the stream. Profit... Because the feed will exist for such a short time on a cloud computing service, it will be up and running and down again before anyone can actually do anything. :o
 
Soldato
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Pretty disappointed if more games turn out like this.
I think £5 is a bit much for what is pretty much a pointless game now that England have already qualified. Even worse £12 if you don't subscribe until Saturday!!
 
Associate
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£5 is too much.

I'd be happy if more games did this and especially if you could say watch all your club's games, but I think £2-3 is more reasonable. Oh and for £5 the stream better be perfect.
 
Soldato
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Internet only games is a bit silly.

Unless it's someone obscure. What about the social aspect of watching England games
 
Associate
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Lol... look at the poll results on the BBC...

Out of 16,000 odd voters, 3% said they were willing to pay the £5 to watch the match.
 
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Soldato
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Totally crazy idea if you ask me, I really hope it fails and they think twice about doing it next time.

Making fans pay to watch 'their' national team play is wrong, everyone should be able to see it free of charge, on bog-standard terrestrial TV.

Money money money....
 
Soldato
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It is a bit ridiculous that it's only available to stream - if this happens more in the future, how will people watch it in the pub unless they have a computer hooked into the AV (Unlikely)?

How to people watch satellite broadcasts in the pub? Oh, the pubs have satellite receives hooked up to the AV.

If there is demand for Internet streamed content in pubs, the technology will be installed, just as satellite was installed in the past.
 
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