After just one day of competition, and the Opening Ceremony, social media has already thrown the spear at Channel 10’s Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games coverage.
With two channels that can be used for games coverage, and a plethora of events running until August 4, fans are asking; why is there a) not more sport and b) so many ads?
The second one might be easier to answer first. Channel Ten paid $30 million for exclusive rights to the Glasgow Commonwealth games in 2008. When that happened, One HD was in its infancy and showing almost 24/7 live sport from across the globe.
Since then, the dynamic has changed. There’s hardly any live sport, and now, for Glasgow, the utilisation of the channel is not really being maximised. Just three hours of coverage from 6pm before it switches to Ten (in standard definition) is not appealing for fans, especially when it comes to sport.
It is a completely different story online; a website and an app for iPhone and Android that is providing eight channels for all sports, with only the tiniest amounts of advertising. Perhaps that’s why the TenPlay website crashed on the first day of competition. What was on offer online was far more lucrative than the TV telecast. Advertisers are paying big amounts for TV advertising, so it’s only fair that quotas are filled, but it needs to be balanced better against the sport.
The eight figure sum for the rights might seem comparatively small to leagues around the world, but this is a two week show against a six month season. However, it begs the question; why is there not more live sport being shown?
All nations across all sports are being shown on the streams, yet on Channel Ten and One HD (depending on which has the coverage at the time), there’s ads, “round-table” discussion and interviews being shown, yet the Australians, for starters, aren’t shown to the loyal supporters?
Paying so much for the games, the audience is expecting sport. Granted, the interviews are going to be shown, but are the games not about the on-field performances?
Then there’s the advertising. Going to a break in the middle of play, or the middle of the triathlon ensures that sponsors and TV shows get their 15 seconds of fame, but what about the sport?
Bungling a TV show is one thing, but setting a possible precedent for a large scale, worldwide telecast of a worldwide sporting competition goes to another level of ridiculous. There is some serious talent on the track, the field, or the court, and, in Australia, there are many missing out.
Australians were competing in table tennis and badminton matches on day one, and they were missed in favour of swimming, cycling and the triathlon. Granted, two channels (if used) can’t show every skerrick of live coverage, but it would greatly appease those tuning in if both started showing games simultaneously.
Channel Ten has had a failing audience and a list of cancelled shows that is of decent length in the last two years. Sport, in some ways, has been Ten’s saving grace; but then One HD turned into an entertainment show, its purpose seemingly fading away.
After securing the rights to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the network had to hit a benchmark and do things right with Glasgow. Everyone is going to do things differently, to make sure the coverage is “special”, but it just did not hit the mark on day one.
Buying the TV rights for $30 million is reason enough to assume that plenty of sport will be shown. Disperse the interviews and panel interviews into sections between heats and finals, or perhaps when major matches or events were not taking place. The viewership might be retained.
With day two set for a lot of action, it is up to Ten to show more live sport, however that is done.