Stories of the game between Birmingham City and Aston Villa are flooding the local media but I’m not sure how much the rest of the country knows or cares about the derby game on Sunday. An article in WSC, written before our game in September 2002, said that “Blues v Villa is best known as a public order problem.” I hope that won’t be true this weekend and that the news on Monday will be about what happened in the game not trouble with fans.
The game will be on TV but, for once, I can’t blame Sky for the inconvenient time the game is being played. Back in June it was announced that both fixtures between the two clubs this season would be put back a day following “consultation between the clubs and West Midlands Police”. I’ll be at St Andrew’s not watching a screen. Whatever the result, it is always better to be there. It’s great if we get a glorious win and being amongst fellow Bluenoses provides some solace if it’s a humiliating defeat.
I don’t like watching games on TV and would feel rather guilty watching Sky as I feel that a lot of football’s problems have been caused by the amount of TV money flooding into the game and the way it is distributed. The amount of money paid for TV rights seems obscene but I don’t think it can continue increasing for ever. There has to be a limit to the time people want to spend watching football on TV and the amount of money they are willing to fork out to the TV companies. The staggering amounts paid for TV rights can only be explained by the greater fool theory. This states that the price of an object is determined not by its intrinsic value, but rather by irrational beliefs and expectations of market participants. A price can be justified by a rational buyer under the belief that another party is willing to pay an even higher price. In other words, one may pay a price that seems “foolishly” high because one may rationally have the expectation that the item can be resold to a “greater fool” later.
There may be an indication the bubble is about to burst. A Guardian article reports, “Early season ratings for live Premier League matches on Sky Sports are down by a fifth. On one particular Tuesday, BT Sport’s Champions League figures were down by 40%. Could the unthinkable be happening? Could fans finally be turning off?” It’s too early to say if this is a blip or a trend but it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on.