FLOW Sports hold­ing fans hostage


Jamaica Gleaner - - ACROSS THE NATION - Kingston 20

THIS PAST week­end, I set­tled into my usual spot in my favourite Manch­ester United jersey to watch my re-en­er­gised Red Devils play in the English Premier League.

I hap­pen to sub­scribe to Dig­i­cel Play, and to my dis­may, on the FLOW Sports chan­nel – no Manch­ester United match! I scrolled and checked and scrolled and checked again. The match was nowhere to be found.

I called and in­ves­ti­gated, only to find out that FLOW, af­ter buy­ing the rights, only of­fers the FLOW Sports chan­nel to Dig­i­cel Play and other cable com­pa­nies and then keeps the rest of the matches for them­selves. Then I checked with my fam­ily and friends, and they were hav­ing the same is­sues. Ac­tu­ally, most had it worse be­cause FLOW ser­vice is not avail­able to most of them, es­pe­cially out­side of Kingston, so they can­not even switch to FLOW to get the matches.

Now we un­der­stand busi­ness is busi­ness, but it seems we have taken gi­ant steps back­wards be­cause for at least the last five sea­sons, we were able to watch all the matches live on the two Sport­sMax chan­nels and ESPN no mat­ter which cable com­pany you sub­scribe to.

But now, FLOW is hold­ing the matches hostage while it can­not pro­vide ser­vice to every­one.

As a mem­ber of the foot­ball fra­ter­nity, I can only hope that FLOW can­not be plan­ning to con­tinue own­ing the Premier League and not al­low­ing peo­ple to see it. If every­one had ac­cess to FLOW ser­vice, I could un­der­stand.

This must be some­thing that the Broad­cast Com­mis­sion will not al­low – an en­tity to buy rights and then the ma­jor­ity of the coun­try not be able to see it.

I am only thank­ful that FLOW is just the spon­sor and that Sport­sMax is the broad­caster of daCosta Cup and Man­ning Cup – or else most of us could not watch ISSA schools matches and the stu­dent ath­letes get no ex­po­sure.

Fig­ure it out, FLOW and the Broad­cast Com­mis­sion. Never for­get that con­sumers al­ways have the power of choice! And please, leave the rest of sports alone un­til you can fig­ure it out.

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