SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN: Pay-per-view access is a sad inevitability

SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN: Pay-per-view access is a sad inevitability

SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN: Pay-per-view access is a sad inevitability

First published in Sport

MIKE Ashley appears to have a compulsion to buck trends and his latest initiative - charging media for access to players and management - sparked mass debate in the national press this week.

It emerged, through revelations from senior football writers on Twitter, that The Sun is on the verge of agreeing a deal to be, in one way or another, the official media partner of Ashley's Newcastle United.

In return for what you’d presume would be a handsome subscription fee, Britian’s biggest selling tabloid would in theory get increased and exclusive access to the inner workings of the club - the players, the management and so forth.

While a tie-in like that is detached from some of the principles of journalism - with commercial responsibilities perhaps put in front of straight-and-narrow reporting - we’d be naive to desperately hold onto some forlorn hope that this sort of thing was never going to happen.

Football, as sensitive and arrogant as it has become, seems to have an urge to turn the industry into one large PR machine - generating meaningless guff has taken precedence over insightful comment. Players are warned off saying anything vaguely interesting. When they do they are slapped on the wrist and told not to do it again.

So, naturally, the next step for clubs both big and small, having successfully sanitised the character of the game, is to try to manipulate the media.

It starts small - a player interview for a few hundred quid - but give it a few months or years and football will see its chance to light the fuse that blows open a gold mine.

When more clubs see those extra dollar signs they may forget some of the responsibilities they have to remain accountable to their fans; long-standing media with dwindling profit margins will be usurped by those happy to part with a little extra cash, those willing to drag a party line through even the most inappropriate moment. That’s a sad inevitability now.

While many out there will see the local press as the flickering ember it has sadly become, it’s impossible to drown out the importance of fair reporting. If a true and honest balance can be struck between paying for access and the responsibility journalists have to their readers, then potentially we are witnessing evolution of the way the sport is covered.

But there is a real danger that might not be possible.

Comments (5)

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7:45am Thu 17 Jul 14

old town robin says...

There's always room on the shirt for another sponsor Sam if you want to get back on the good side with LP and get some player interviews. While we're at it why don't we rename the County Ground after the Adver. Now you're looking for a new office, I'm sure they can find some space if we ever got round with ground development.

Seriously, I don't think we are likely to be going in the same direction as Mike Ashley or any of the other money grabbing premier teams. Wasn't it Southampton that wanted the media to pay for photography in St Mary's a couple of years ago.
There's always room on the shirt for another sponsor Sam if you want to get back on the good side with LP and get some player interviews. While we're at it why don't we rename the County Ground after the Adver. Now you're looking for a new office, I'm sure they can find some space if we ever got round with ground development. Seriously, I don't think we are likely to be going in the same direction as Mike Ashley or any of the other money grabbing premier teams. Wasn't it Southampton that wanted the media to pay for photography in St Mary's a couple of years ago. old town robin
  • Score: 2

8:56am Thu 17 Jul 14

Moonraker1983 says...

So one paper will get exclusive access and everyone else will just rehash the stories, so pretty much like it is today anyway.

The only people that care about Newcastle are in the North East. If Newcastle want to get fewer column inches, this is the way to do it. Which doesn't then tie in with expanding the support of the team globally. Teams like Man Utd/City and Liverpool go on Far Eastern tours to maintain a foothold in those lucrative markets, if they then sell sole media access to a single paper, their global exposure will surely decrease?

Some clubs will try, and like renaming of stadiums, it rarely works on the long term. Fans will always call the stadium by the name they remember fondly. I mean, I still sit in the North Stand...
So one paper will get exclusive access and everyone else will just rehash the stories, so pretty much like it is today anyway. The only people that care about Newcastle are in the North East. If Newcastle want to get fewer column inches, this is the way to do it. Which doesn't then tie in with expanding the support of the team globally. Teams like Man Utd/City and Liverpool go on Far Eastern tours to maintain a foothold in those lucrative markets, if they then sell sole media access to a single paper, their global exposure will surely decrease? Some clubs will try, and like renaming of stadiums, it rarely works on the long term. Fans will always call the stadium by the name they remember fondly. I mean, I still sit in the North Stand... Moonraker1983
  • Score: 2

9:29am Thu 17 Jul 14

old town robin says...

Moonraker1983 wrote:
So one paper will get exclusive access and everyone else will just rehash the stories, so pretty much like it is today anyway.

The only people that care about Newcastle are in the North East. If Newcastle want to get fewer column inches, this is the way to do it. Which doesn't then tie in with expanding the support of the team globally. Teams like Man Utd/City and Liverpool go on Far Eastern tours to maintain a foothold in those lucrative markets, if they then sell sole media access to a single paper, their global exposure will surely decrease?

Some clubs will try, and like renaming of stadiums, it rarely works on the long term. Fans will always call the stadium by the name they remember fondly. I mean, I still sit in the North Stand...
some good points made
[quote][p][bold]Moonraker1983[/bold] wrote: So one paper will get exclusive access and everyone else will just rehash the stories, so pretty much like it is today anyway. The only people that care about Newcastle are in the North East. If Newcastle want to get fewer column inches, this is the way to do it. Which doesn't then tie in with expanding the support of the team globally. Teams like Man Utd/City and Liverpool go on Far Eastern tours to maintain a foothold in those lucrative markets, if they then sell sole media access to a single paper, their global exposure will surely decrease? Some clubs will try, and like renaming of stadiums, it rarely works on the long term. Fans will always call the stadium by the name they remember fondly. I mean, I still sit in the North Stand...[/p][/quote]some good points made old town robin
  • Score: -1

12:27pm Thu 17 Jul 14

cfa says...

This could have something to do with Mr Ashley banning the local press last season - Chronicle/Journal.
This could have something to do with Mr Ashley banning the local press last season - Chronicle/Journal. cfa
  • Score: 0

6:50am Sat 19 Jul 14

The Jockster says...

Not a deal likely to happen on Merseyside after the Sun's scumbag comments about Hillsborough
Not a deal likely to happen on Merseyside after the Sun's scumbag comments about Hillsborough The Jockster
  • Score: 0

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