A couple of decades ago, television coverage revolutionised football in the UK, and particularly the English Premier League. Indeed, televised coverage of games is now the primary way to experience live football, with viewing figures for matches featuring the top teams dwarfing the numbers able to physically attend the stadium. Indeed, such is the influence of top flight football coverage you could argue that the importance of televised games for both fans – and the pubs that host them on match days – has changed the way that we look at TVs in the U.K. Take a look at the TVs on offer from major high street suppliers like currys.co.uk, and then think back to when you first saw that new technology. When high definition TV’s and then 3D TVs first came onto the market, it’s pretty safe to say that the first place you saw these new gadgets was in your local pub, displaying televised coverage of, if not football, then some other sport like rugby or cricket. But just what effect has the new central role of TVs for spectating sport had on the way that we interact with the game

As mentioned, TV coverage has democratised football in a way, providing vastly increased access to the biggest fixtures for both the geographically remote, and those who could never afford the season tickets which are so often necessary to secure a seat at the most important games. As well as providing vastly increased access to these games, modern televised coverage also – arguably – presents a better view of the action than you are ever able to get inside the actual stadium.

Think back to the first time that you saw a close up, slowed-down replay of a penalty box dive on a high definition TV. While modern camera placement and editing techniques have made the most subtle of contacts – or indeed absence of any contact – discernable in a way that is often blocked to a referee just five yards away, it is the technology of high definition TV that allows us to get the full benefit of the zoomed-in, close-up broadcast.

Now 3D TVs have brought revolutionary depth to the way that set pieces and corners are viewed, and again, combined with the multi-angled display and replay, it is now possible to see the most minute detail of a penalty box incident in a way that you might well miss even if seated directly behind the goal.

Add to this god-like vision of close up replays the fact that heating, decent food and alcohol is available in the local pub – in contrast to conditions in the stadium – and the transformation of the spectator experience in the modern game is entirely understandable. It is little wonder that many teams in the U.K. now feel the need to limit coverage of certain important European ties with obscure teams in mid-winter, for fear that fans will stay at home or in the pub rather than face travel, queuing, and the full force of the elements. But just how good would the televised coverage be without fans in the stadium? For a further discussion of the impact of media on sport, try looking at: http://www.ahfcchat.com.

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