I don’t know about you, but I’ve really enjoyed the coverage of the Commonwealth Games this week. With TVNZ providing coverage over 3 channels, there’s an ability to watch a range of sports and to keep an eye on various things by switching between channels. I had a quiet day today, so loved watching the women’s 20km walk in the morning, and the 100m heats in the evening. Over the week, I’ve also managed to catch some of the cycling, swimming and gymnastics.
I’ve never subscribed to Sky for various reasons, which means that the amount of sports coverage available has not been great. I watch when I can – in the last year, I’ve been able to see the Winter Olympics and Wimbledon. I also try to catch as many world cup football matches when that’s on. Not much of a rugby fan, and will sometimes catch netball on Prime, and have even been known to sit through an America’s Cup race or two.
It really bothers me that so many of our elite sportspeople have so often been unavailable to view free-to-air. My view is that if a sportsperson or team is representing New Zealand and/or is getting public funding through our taxes, then we should be able to watch them when they compete. Free-to-air. I hate that there is a whole section of our population that has been shut out of watching a lot of sports because they couldn’t afford pay-TV. Watching encourages participation, as well as providing inspiration and motivation.
I’m all for sports being accessible, both to play and to watch, which means less profit-making and a more even spread of funding. I can’t imagine this happening in a hurry, but one can wish. That Sky may not get the rights to the next Rugby World Cup is at least a good sign and hopefully a sign of better things to come.
The other thing with Commonwealth Games (and Olympic) coverage is that we get to see a lot more women competing with these events. We know how unequal and unfair coverage of women sports is generally, but this is a time when we get to see a range of female athletes doing really well. If only we could get that all year round!