The FA Cup, where it’s still 1871

Oh fuck me. The FA Cup is back.

Now, I’m not one of those EPL-centric, footballing-history-started-in-1992 type people. I just hate the FA Cup. I hate how misused the FA Cup is in terms of broadcasting (both online and televised).

Last March I wrote a post about how College Basketball’s March Madness is presented in America. It’s been nearly a year and I’m still stunned at the power that was at my fingertips. Stunned that any game was just a mouse-click away. At the time, I wrote this:

Tell me, if given a similar opportunity, you would watch a Bournemouth game now with Lauri Dalla Valle scoring goals, right? Or an MK Dons match to check in on Keanu Marsh Brown? Or, at some other point, an FA Cup ‘gamecenter’ where you can watch all the various games occurring at the same time. Surely you would. [my emphasis]

Well, here we are, a few days away from the FA Cup Third Round, where 64 teams will compete in 32 matches over the course of three days. Truly some January Jubilation, no? Where we could see some penalty drama in Doncaster while jumping over to the massacre at Milton Keynes.

But no.  Here are the only games that will have any consumable video footage of:

Saturday 7 January
Birmingham City v Wolverhampton Wanderers (12.30pm) – Live on ESPN
Bristol Rovers v Aston Villa (5.30pm) – Live on ESPN

Match Highlights
Fleetwood Town v Blackpool
Swindon Town v Wigan Athletic
Macclesfield Town v Bolton Wanderers
The FA fee for designated highlights is £5,750 per club.

Sunday 8 January 2012
Manchester City v Manchester United (1.00pm) – Live on ITV1
Peterborough United v Sunderland (3.30pm) – Live on ITV1

Monday 9 January 2012
Arsenal v Leeds United (7.45pm) – Live on ESPN

That’s right. Five matches. Or, 8 if you include whatever detail “match highlights” contain.

It’s 20-freaking-12. Why should we have to rely on the affable Gentleman Jim as our only primary source of Saturday’s match? Would it be too much to ask the “oldest association football competition in the world” be brought to the 21st Century and have video for every match? You know, like this.

Even if they charged a fee, would you not sign up for some online service (that is, if you couldn’t attend the match) where every game is available to you? The EPL, for it’s faults, is somewhat on the right path in America with the foxsoccer.tv and ESPN3 service(s).

We always hear grumblings about how “meaningless” the FA Cup is to some clubs this time of year, or how the “magic” of the competition is gone. I agree with that, but from a different vantage point. It’s meaningless in the sense that, in this mobile technology and online media driven age, the FA refuse to instill any meaning to it. That they still present the product as if they don’t want people to watch and see the magic for themselves. As if the  internet doesn’t fucking exist.

Not to quote myself, again, but seriously: if I or you or anyone were to take the same outdated approach in terms of marketing our products and services as the FA does for it’s Cup…

We would be fired.

4 thoughts on “The FA Cup, where it’s still 1871

  1. Totally agree. You would think someone in the FA would realize that they could sell the rights to broadcast the FA cup and make some more cash while making the consumer happy.

  2. Agreed. Also, City/United is on at 5am Pacific time. No, David Blaine! Well, ok, I’ll DVR it.

    Luckily, the NFL playoffs are there to cover the weekend. A lot of potentially for really terrible quarterback play this year.

  3. While I’m bummed that I can’t watch on TV or “via other means”, I’m actually looking forward to getting to know Gentleman Jim again. I’ve only had to listen to one Fulham match this season. I’ve watched every other match live.

  4. “Oh fuck me. The FA Cup is back.”

    That is probably the single greatest opening line to any blog ever written.

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