I’m loving the outrage at the likelihood that Māori TV might get rights to the Rugby World Cup. It seems paying Sky to watch rugby was a bitter enough pill to swallow, but being forced to listen to a little bit of reo in among your rucks and mauls may be the straw that will break the TV sofa’s back.
I note most of the objections have centered around whether Māori TV has the capacity to broadcast to all NZ homes. It’s interesting that this has never been a major public concern in the context of Māori TV’s te reo Māori programmes.
I don’t have a TV aerial at my house, so most of the sport I watch these days is friends playing in local competitions. So, the bit I don’t get is that there are hundreds, if not thousands of free rugby games taking part on fields all over new Zealand – transmitted to all corners of the nation if you will. Those sort of games make great snippets on TV ads about heartland grassroots New Zealand, so why not watch them instead of the ABs.
And yet I’d be very surprised if these local rugby players in our clubs and schools are finding the rugby-deprived public are flocking to the sidelines to watch free rugby. It seems to me that people are complaining about their non-existent right to watch the marketed and packaged commodity that is commercial rugby rather enforcing their existing right to watch the muddy, local, gritty version that involves people in our own communities.