Sometimes the Diggity Doc and the Wildcard talk to each other...
Diggity Doc - El Wildcardo, I've led Friday Frills with the news of a broadcasting deal between the NBL and Fox Sports. But while I was writing it, I once again got this mass FOMO sensation creeping through my veins because here in Aotearoa we once again must wait on Sky TV. Do you ever look across the ditch and get a bit jealous?
Wildcard - Well Doc, I'll be honest... not really. But there are a few things that they do have that are fairly enviable. Mostly the foreign, distant, unthinkable concept of having sports on free to air television. Who does that? An entire cricket test on a channel that you don't have to pay for! It makes no sense, when do they find the time to play re-runs of crappy soap operas and reality shows about building houses or cooking food? Madness. Plus Australia has the luxury where rival networks compete against each other which means the viewer's interests are more in the spotlight (gotta please the viewer for them ratings numbers) whereas we have Sky TV dictating all these things for us. As for the NBL deal though, it's pretty great for us. Last season we got the Breakers away games on telly via the NBL web streams, and that tends not to look fantastic on the bigger screen. Presumably Sky can now get actual TV broadcasts, win-win.
DD - Boy that NBL is low key impressive right, or is it just me? Both Australia and Aotearoa have more NBA players and lads in Europe than ever and now basketball in our backyard is starting to follow suit. You mentioned the web streams from last season and given that at the end of last season two clubs were up a financial shit's creek; things have swiftly took a positive turn right? Throw in the players joining the NBL and kiwi lads getting signed by Aussie clubs.
WC - No, it's massive. Coz this is a league that's, beyond a couple teams, had a bit of turmoil over the last decade with financial problems. Like you say, just last season the same old problems were rearing their heads. Specifically from a few franchises, but the entire league's not exactly on NBA terms. TV money seems to be all the rage in sports these days. We're not getting all that much more as fans but the leagues themselves are growing to all kinds of unprecedented levels. Look at the NBA and the Premier League. This should stabilise the NBL in Oz, hopefully we get something done about the coverage of our own NBL next.
DD - Could you draw a connection between having more dingo and kiwi NBA players and the NBL's apparent growth? Ah Wildcard that is partly where my fomo comes from because there aren't any big (proportionately) broadcast deals to boost our local sports. We can't expect that when there's no competition though - what are Sommet Sport up to?
WC - As far as I know, Sommet Sports are out panhandling on Queen St. And that's the thing, right? Sky Sports NZ... they run the show and while they're pretty comprehensive, the lack of competition definitely makes them complacent. Waiting 'til the last minute to get coverage of the Blackcaps in Zimbabwe, for example, then doing the same in South Afirca and missing out. Which brings up a whole other idea because I find it hard to believe in the cut-throat world of sports broadcasting rights, SA Cricket let us stream that series for free in NZ. What was in it for them? Practice for the future is the only idea that makes sense other than pure good will. When was the last time a major sports event was on free to air telly? I'm not talking about All Blacks squads either. I guess there's a Premier League game every week, and Wimbledon was on TV One.
DD - Mate it's been yonks since I watched sport on TV One or Three and I kinda miss it ya know? But streaming is the way to go and I think while SA cricket missed out on the cash, they showed some creativity and imagination. The Sri Lanka vs India Test series has been all up on Youtube as well which I have loved.
WC - Yeah, that feels like a huge thing and not many people seem to realise. I know the MLB youtube channel are pretty good at streaming a game or two a day usually as well. Plus, broadening our horizons a stretch, I'm a big fan of live music festival streams too. I still think regular television coverage has to be the main avenue but it's those companies that can think outside the box that are gonna be the winners. Everything is multimedia these days, gotta hit people on all the platforms. By the way, SkyGo's streaming service is absolute trash.
DD - The beauty with that is that it gives smaller sports a great opportunity to get live events out there. When are the All Whites in action? I saw the Socceroos got a nice win against the powerhouse that is Bangladesh.
WC - Ooh, top stuff Australia. Yeah, we're getting something similar (probably better) when we play Myanmar on Monday night, NZ time. 11.30pm kick off I believe, and as far as I know it's on Sky, probably with Dewhurst commentating from a bunker in Auckland but pretending he's there at the ground like he does. And I know it's been a process (as LVG would say) but even without a couple of our better players, Anthony Hudson's recalled several experienced faces and I'm ready to see this All Whites team start winning. I refuse to use the FIFA rankings as a judge because they're worthless beyond the top 50 or so, but they lost to Kuwait 9-0 a couple days ago and we thrashed their U20s at the World Cup in NZ. Like, seriously, this is a game we 100% should win if we're serious about qualifying for the Russia 2018.
DD - If we're serious about 2018 then we need to win a lot of games and get a host of players game time. Who should we be watching out for in this game against Myanmar?
WC - I'd say keep an eye on anyone you hadn't heard of before. Also, anyone who looks like they might be able to spark a goal, coz that's been an issue in the past (esp. without Chris Wood). Marco Rojas will be the main creative outlet. Also, interesting to see who plays as the fullbacks given Storm Roux and Deklan Wynne are being stood down while that whole ineligibility fiasco drags on behind the scenes. On that note, it's a good thing to finally have the All Whites back on the field to bring NZ Football some publicity of the right sort. Anyway, this is why be build depth.
DD - It is a great time for the All Whites to be playing isn't it? Especially when a lot of the team have had their eligibility sussed by NZ Football like Winny Reid etc...
It's like NZF's eligibility nous is on show for kiwis to see and smile about.
WC - Haha, well... let's not get into that can of worms. Never been much of a worm fan myself anyway. But I am an NFL fan and that starts up again next Friday. I wanna talk about Jarryd Hayne & Paul Lasike but that's best to wait 'til after the rosters are announced, though we do have this absolute travesty of a decision to dismiss the Tom Brady suspension. Disgusting. Filthy conspiracy. It's embarrassing that a player can get away with such blatant disregard for sport and humanity. The man is a shameful person and if anything his suspension should have been much longer. Or, at least long enough that he still missed the Patriots vs Cowboys game in week five...
DD - Crikey mate it sounded like you had a vendetta until you mentioned the Cowboys and it all made sense. At least it is all over right?
WC - Yeah, I guess this is one we all have to cop to get this out of the way before the season starts, but I'd hesitate to say it's quite over yet. The NFL hold grudges and they'll not be enjoying being made to look kinda foolish. The NFL has already appealed the new ruling because this is what legal battles are like. Appealing appeals. As for Brady, my feelings are complicated. I like him, but I feel like I should hate the Patriots. Yet I kinda like them. And I hate Brady for making that the case. Except that I like him. Now I dislike him a bit more because he never should've been suspended but then he was and now he isn't. Like I said: Complicated.
DD - Hey, I remember hearing a few times a while back that Roger Goodell and whoever owns the Patriots were quite good buddies or buddies of some description?
WC - Robert Kraft, yeah. They were chums, alright. But you can bet they aren't any longer. It's almost laughable how the league continually got slammed for under-punishing players for serious off-field offences and then they completely over-compensated with this minor on-field one. The lesson here is that if you act with fairness and proportion, things don't linger on like this. If you err either way, they do. Especially when you upset the Boston faithful, because Patriots fans have loud voices and they know how to make them heard. It's just a good thing for Goodell that Bill Simmons is still on hiatus for a few more weeks or else mayhem.
DD - Obviously their friendship wasn't worth avoiding all this sillyness.
WC - Hey, both men have jobs to do. I'd imagine it was always a networking sort of friendship anyway. Doubt they slam the beersies on a Friday night. It's nice to see the pretension torn down though, everything out in the open between them. As we all know, *true* friendships, like Brendon McCullum and Mike Hesson, like Alex Ferguson and Gary Neville, like Robbie Farah and Tigers fans... they last forever.
DD - Ah relationship peptides my ... friend?
WC - It's what keeps us going, mate. Put me down for a double order.
DD - Free shipping within Hobbiton, peace out.
WC - Sure thing Gandalf. Adios
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