Much has been made of Channel Nine’s awful coverage of the Rugby World Cup on this website and numerous others.
The consensus seems to be that the station simply bought the rights to screen Wallabies and some other matches simply so that other free-to-air stations couldn’t show them – and to maximise Foxtel subscriptions, which is showing every match live.
Whatever the reasons behind Channel Nine buying the rights for the tournament, the fact that they have butchered the biggest sporting event of 2011 is beyond doubt. We can only hope that the station pulls its act together by the time the quarter finals begin.
But Channel Nine has not limited its poor sports coverage to the World Cup. The preliminary final between Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors saw the disgraceful promotion of an anti-poker machine legislation campaign by commentator Phil Gould.
He described the Federal Government’s proposed legislation to cap losses made by individuals on poker machines as ‘the worst policy he has ever seen’, and claimed that it would be the end of all rugby league clubs as a result of lost revenues to leagues clubs. His fellow commentator, Ray Warren, voiced his agreement before the two finally got back to their job, which was calling the game.
Phil Gould is perfectly entitled to his views – that is not the issue here. The fact is, however, that viewers turn on the television to watch a game of football and not to be lectured on national politics by commentators.
We don’t tune in to Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott to hear their views on which team is coming home the strongest in the NRL, so why should we have to put up with Phil Gould spouting his disdain for a new piece of legislation (let alone Warren, who has fought a gambling addiction throughout his life)?
Gould should never have been allowed to stray from his commentary of the match, and it is Channel Nine’s fault for letting him do so.
So now we have two unwelcome distractions to what is a fantastic time of year, with a World Cup in full swing and the NRL Grand Final fast approaching.
Let’s hope Gould isn’t allowed to pontificate on anything besides what happens on the ANZ Stadium pitch on Sunday. Stick to your day job, Phil.
If you’ve got something to say, write a letter (or a column on The Roar) – and give people a choice in whether or not they want to hear your thoughts on all things outside rugby league.