Telly Whingo   2 comments

The Welsh are getting very complainy. From complaints about the WRU not not trying to help the regions, to complaints about the WRU trying to help the regions, it seems that they bounce from one whinge to the next. The current whine de jour from our celtic brethern is over the value of TV rights to the league. They point out, often, that the Welsh broadcasters, BBC Wales and S4C, paid more than three times as much for the Welsh rights to the Pro12 than the Irish broadcasters did, yet the IRFU gets as much of that television money as the WRU do. Its all so unfair.

Or is it.

How much are the rights to watching 15 rugby players stand in a field with no opposition worth? I mean, just standing there, for 80 minutes, looking at the sky and the grass – or plastic fibres in the case of Cardiff Blues. No one to play against, no scrums, mauls, lineouts, passing moves, nothing. If you guessed ‘not a cent’, you are correct. Rights to sporting contests are only of value if there is a contest, the value is brought by there being two teams on the pitch, and the better the contest, the better the teams, the more the rights are worth.

So lets take a look at those figures again and assign some notional values to them – say three million euro for the Welsh rights, and one million for the Irish rights.

BBC Wales and S4C have paid this three million euro to have matches between the Welsh regions and Irish provinces (and Scottish districts and Italian sides) available to their viewers. RTE and TG4 have paid one million euro to have Irish provinces play Welsh sides (etc) available to their viewers. We can see therefore that it is worth three times as much to Welsh television to have the Irish provinces on their channels than it is for Irish television to be able to show the Welsh.

Another oft-ignored or forgotten factoid is that BBC Wales and S4C are FTA channels carried over satellite at 28.2°E (and others). This means that they broadcast not only to Wales, or the UK, but to Ireland as well – indeed depending on the size of ones dish, significant swathes of Western Europe are covered by this footprint. RTE and TG4 on the other hand are not (legally) available in the UK (except Northern Ireland) or elsewhere at all. The market available to the Welsh channels, in reality, isn’t the 3 million people of Wales, its the nigh on 63 million people of the United Kingdom, including the huge Irish populations in cities like London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow plus the 4.6 million strong population of Ireland (republic of). The Irish channels are in real terms paying nearly 5 times the amount per potential viewer over the Welsh channels.

Next season Sky will be involved. Who do you think their market is? Anyone who has been to Cardiff, or Swansea or Llanelli or Newport and tried to find a pub a) with Sky and b) willing to turn on the rugby on sky will know how hard, and oft-times fruitless that search can be. Try and find a pub in Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway without Sky Sports – go on, I dare you.

The last thing to note is the name of the league itself. The RaboDirect Pro12. Thats RABODIRECT. RaboDirect is the brand for online banking arm of RaboBank, a Dutch bank that trades in The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Poland, Ireland and the United States of America. Note the missing name there – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. For all the Welsh complaints about the Irish taking their television money, one doesn’t often hear them complaining about taking sponsorship money from a company that doesn’t even trade in their country.

Blues Talk TV will be back tomorrow with our normally scheduled episode – if we haven’t been assassinated by Welsh Ninjas wielding sharped leeks and close harmonies.


Posted February 26, 2014 by bluestalktv in Ireland, Leinster, Rugby

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2 responses to “Telly Whingo

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  1. So you’ve been killed by Welsh Ninjas ? No show on Thursday ? Hope all is good.

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