Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Somewhere there’s an online calculator you’ll need

I spent ages last night working on a thing. Nothing to do with Arsenal, but a thing all the same. I had to do some projections in terms of numbers of stuff and all that, which I realise doesn’t make it any more clear, but I did all the numbers and stuff and then realised I’d got the numbers all wrong. I’m just not a maths guy, so I took to the Internet, as one does, to try and find a very specific kind of calculator, and there it was.

It’s an amazing tool, is it not? This Internet thing we take for granted gives us access to all the world’s information and knowledge. History, language, society, philosophy, education, science, technology, medicine, and everything else you can think of. We can see time-lapse videos of Aurora or lightning storms posted to Twitter from space by astronauts orbiting the earth. All these things are available to us on miraculous, hand-held devices that can record and play high resolution video and audio, that connect via the air wherever we are.

And we use it to call each other names because we disagree over football. Gotta love people! We are the best and worst thing that has ever happened to this planet. But mostly the worst. Still, I used the Internet for good yesterday. Thank you people who made that very specific calculator I needed, your efforts are appreciated.

Thanks also to all the people who emailed me to tell me that Stan Kroenke bought himself a new ranch in Texas for a cool $750m. I don’t know why that amount of money is cool, but there you go. According to the website I read, Rancho Relaxo, is a ‘535,000-acre estate which was established in 1849 and spans six Texas counties and almost 800 square miles. The ranch includes thousands of cattle, hundreds of horses and oil wells, and 30,000 acres of farmland.’

I like how ranch is basically a better word than farm. Not that I have any issue with farms or farmers, without them we’d be hungry and thirsty for delicious pasteurised milk, but ranches are just dusty farms, when it comes right down to it.

It’s a big one though. 535,000 acres is a lot. And it got me thinking. I searched the Internet for an Acre Calculator, and wouldn’t you know it, there was one. It suggested that a football pitch is somewhere between 1.5 and 2 acres. Stan now has more acres than he knows what to do with. Slap a 2 acre football pitch in there, and he’s still got another 534,998 to play with. That’s more than enough for a stadium. That’s more than enough for a generous car park. I think it’s obvious we’re seeing the first steps in the relocation of Arsenal to the USA.

The new TV deals will provide such massive income that fans will no longer be required anyway. The stadium will be filled with minimum wage extras. People who previously made their living by shuffling around in the background of a Walking Dead scene will carry flags and bunting and banners and doo-hickeys and wotsits and sing all those classic songs like “We all follow the Arsenal, over land and sea (and 2016 Premier League champions before they were bought by China and moved to Guangzhou, LEICESTER).”

Fun times lie ahead, folks. Things change, it’s inevitable. Like the rumours that we’ll be seeing Premier League games on Friday night from next season, as part of the terms of the new TV deal. Some have suggested that this is to help teams in the Champions League get an extra bit of rest before crucial European games. Maybe I’m being a bit cynical here, but I’m not convinced that any decisions made by TV companies or the Premier League have anything to do with making life easier for anyone.

If, instead, you told me that this was being implemented to add even more TV coverage over more days to give greater prominence to the Premier League brand ©® then I’d more inclined to believe you. Friday night football, Saturday morning football, Saturday evening football, Super Sunday, Monday night football, all sponsored by big companies with expensive advertising slots while the games are on. Could it be that this is why they would do such a thing?

In the meantime, let’s keep up this ludicrous, archaic rule that says no live football at all – not just Premier League – can be broadcast in England between 3pm and 5pm on Saturdays lest it have a negative impact on attendances. Hey, we can rocket up prices; move fixtures at late notice to inconvenience and cause greater expense to fans; price out the next generation of supporters; or, even worse, make those people think that this is a perfectly acceptable way to behave, that this is just the way it is and always will be; but heaven forbid we might be able to watch a La Liga game on channels we have paid for on the satellite broadcasters that are causing all these problems in the first place.

Then they wonder why people are seeking out and using alternatives. I know there are many who are actually paying for VPNs and streaming services from other countries because they’re fed up with the restrictions in place. It shows that there’s a willingness to pay, but also that the rights holders are determined not to give people what they want, instead they force them into legacy options and subscriptions that don’t meet those demands.

I wonder how much the Premier League spent on their new logo, when they might have been better off spending that money talking to fans about what they want and how they want it. Hurrah for the new Sonic the Hedgehog lion though. Hurrah.

Till tomorrow.

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