Football clubs score with highlights over the Net

Premier Web content

Weekend reports suggest that Premiership football clubs are lining up to charge fans to watch highlights of games on the Internet.

Top clubs are expected to cash in to changes in the Premiership's TV deal, which gives clubs delayed transmission rights that allow them to show clips or highlights from their games on club TV channels or Web sites.

A Premier League spokesman said the deal meant clubs could broadcast or Web cast content from games played on Saturday after midnight on Monday, or after a similar waiting period for midweek games.

However he admitted that the idea is only likely to take off when broadband access becomes more widespread.

"Technology needs to catch up with the idea," he said.

Those clubs expected to become the first to launch services around include those with links to broadband firms, for example Aston Villa which is sponsored by NTL, or those with existing club TV stations, such as Leeds and Manchester United.

Arsenal will announce a subscription based Web service later this week priced at £13 per month, The Observer reports. The paper suggested Liverpool and Manchester United, which is due to launch a revamped ManUtd.com Web site in conjunction with broadcaster BSkyB, are also enthusiastic backers of the idea.

Cynics would suggest Web site coverage will be the only way some of Man United's overseas fans (or even the very small number who actually live in Salford - ed) could see games.

Last week broadband outfit Video Networks announced it had acquired exclusive rights to provide video on demand to the 106 games that are televised each season. Access to the games will be sold for £6 a month extra to subscribers of Video Network's broadband service, HomeChoice. ®

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