Freedom of Belief

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Through my work over the last few weeks and through keeping an eye on the news, I have felt in today’s world that there is an attack at the moment on people who believe in something.

It seems to me that freedom of speech only seems to be granted to those opposing viewpoints, rather than those that have them. I think freedom of speech and belief should be granted to all. Even if you don’t agree with a viewpoint, people should still be allowed to have them and voice them, it’s only by people voicing opinions, that we can really talk about and tackle the issues of today’s society.

Believing in something isn’t wrong

I think the message being pumped out today is that if you believe in something you are wrong and that you are wrong to believe in something. A message that if you follow a religion you can’t be ‘right.’ I have alluded to how I dislike how society seems to view people who are passionate about things in past blogs and this just seems to be that same type of thing, just on a whole bigger scale.

First newsflash – not everyone who follows a certain religion are the same. Don’t judge a religion by the actions and thoughts of a few, as they don’t speak for that religion. Second newsflash – following a religion doesn’t mean that you hate people or judge people who have a different lifestyle to you. Having a belief or having beliefs does not automatically make you intolerant of others.

Tolerance

I thought these things were obvious, but it ever increasingly seems that they aren’t as obvious as I thought. For an educated society in some ways it seems as if we have gone backwards. If anything I think it is the world that has got less tolerant of people who follow religions.

The world we live in has made me and I think many others reluctant to share viewpoints any more, as I think the powers that be want a world where they dictate how we think and stop people from having their own viewpoints. It is however those brave enough to stand up and share their views who will change this world.

Opposing views

Just because someone has an opposing view to you, it doesn’t make them right. Just because a viewpoint has media backing, it doesn’t make it right. Having the strength to keep hold of your beliefs when others are against you is one of the greatest strength’s you can ever obtain.

I think the world is guilty of making people who are passionate about things feel different, not normal or not ‘cool.’ I think they are treated in the way they are because society has been controlled to a point, that they are now inbuilt to try and stop others from standing out. The sad thing is that many don’t even know they are doing it or why they are doing it. As I have said before, I think it will be those that are willing to stand out that will change the world; I just hope people have the bravery to do it.

Selling the game

It’s been a bad news week this week if you are a fan of what many people call the national game of England, that being football (or soccer for my American readers).

The TV rights to screen games from our biggest league ‘The Premiership’ have been sold to Sky and BT for a staggering £5.136bn, which is 71% above the amount they paid for TV rights last time they were sold. Here is a news story about this development:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31379128

The clubs in the leagues are probably rubbing their hands together, as this sale of rights means more money will filter through to the clubs, which will make their balance sheets look healthier give them capital to build stadiums, ability to buy new players and more chances to secure loans or credit.

I think the clubs and the league will be the only winners though. To access football matches legally in the UK through Sky and BT, you either have to have a paid subscription or pay for their other products and services. Both Sky and BT are businesses and need to make money from these deals, so that leaves the fans in a bad place.

The Rich get richer

I’m sure the money the clubs make through these deals will keep some fans happy though, as some will use the increased revenues to buy big name players to excite and entertain their fans. These players will get paid a ridiculous amount of money and may or may not bring success to their club. Whilst the wages of the super rich footballers I’m sure will increase with this deal, I’m sure the average earnings of the fans that pay their money to support them won’t increase at anywhere near the same rate.

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The problem with the TV rights deal is that it starts a domino effect on the money earned and spent by those in the game, as it filters from Sky to the Premier League, then to the clubs and then to the players. People are already speculating that this TV deal may be the catalyst for the record transfer fee and wages for a player to be broken again. Even though the money coming in may be going up, the costs for the TV providers and the clubs I think will be going up significantly in the next 4 years because of it.

Business

Sky and BT will need to claw their outlay back and this is where I think the fans are going to be hit in the pocket. The easiest way for them to do this is by increasing the costs for their subscriptions and to increase the lengths of contracts you have to commit to in order to watch the games.

The next way they will claw their outlay back is through advertising. I think we can expect to see more on screen advertising during games and coverage, more paid for advertising on their online and social media streams, then finally probably more advert breaks or longer advert breaks in the build up, half time and post match.

Open Letter

Last year I blogged my ‘Open Letter’ to the football world which can be seen here:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/open-letter-to-football-teams-players-staff-and-tv-companies-that-screen-football-in-the-uk/

Following on from this weeks news, I think this problem that I blogged about last year is only going to get worse. Sky and BT will be more desperate than ever for more advertisers and higher spending advertisers, so all I can see is betting adverts around football increasing.

Aggressive advertising

More betting adverts, more aggressive betting advertising and closer links between TV companies and betting companies will only see more people betting on football, which I think is a problem. Again (as I did in my blog last year) I stress that I am not anti-betting but I think for a good percentage of people that an aggressive advertising assault encouraging them to bet, could lead them in to financial problems and addictions.

We need to remember that it’s the betting companies that make the most from gambling, not the customers. Betting companies, like Sky and BT need to make a profit and for betting companies they will have to make more money to afford price hikes in advertising costs.

Pressure

With more at stake than ever for Sky and BT the pressure to make more money has been increased. The boards and shareholders will want to see returns on their investments and I am sure if these deals aren’t as successful for them as they had hoped, that it could have massive implications on their companies and their staff.

Inflated bubble

To fund what is becoming an ever over inflated bubble it will be the fans that lose out. I think for long-term success it is important to get as many people watching the game as possible, but all I can see long term is people turning away from the game. It won’t happen overnight but if we continue at this rate for the next 20 years, I dread to think what the sport will be like.