Sat | Mar 17, 2018

FLOW Sports holding fans hostage

Published:Saturday | October 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM

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.



Kingston 20