Last weekend I was reminded of something from my childhood that was certainly better in principle and access: forgoing a few technical and quality differences: than it is today. Allow me to explain. There are three sports that I have tried for myself and genuinely love to watch: motor racing; in particular Formula 1, Rugby Union and British Boxing at whatever weight or level. My motor racing hero’s were Mansell and Senna, today they are Hammilton and Button. In Rugby it is always the current England side followed closely by the two counties that have influenced my life the most: Northampton and Leicester. Then there’s Boxing. When the Telstar’s 1 and two satellite’s were launched in 1962 and 1963 they allowed us here in Britain to see, for the very first time, live television transmissions from the other side of the world. My dad and I would sit together watching the progress of a young Olympic champion boxer called Casius Clay – later Muhammad Ali as he fought his way to greatness and into the history books. As I sat watching those bouts: fights: contests: in my woolly tasselled dressing gown as a boy of six or seven, it never once crossed my mind that much later in life I would have to pay money to watch such greatness appearing before my very eyes.
If we had to pay to watch England play in this summer’s world cup I’m sure there’d be an outcry, yet last weekend, because of my lack of paid access, I had no choice but to listen to the radio as Northampton were triumphant over Saracens at Twickenham, and Carl Froch successfully defended his Boxing world title at Wembley. Naturally I’m fully aware of the financial and business implications of the various scenarios’ involved in this discussion, it’s just that it sometimes feels to be simply unfair. Incidentally, I recently discovered that as of last year Telstar’s 1 and 2 were still in orbit: now, that’s quality!