Archive for June, 2012

Hi everyone:

I am a huge fan of a sport which is affectionately called “the beautiful game”. It’s the most popular sport on the planet, igniting passions like no other. Most of the world calls it football, but some folks, especially here in North America, call it by another term: soccer.

In declaring my love for this sport, I should point out that I am not an immigrant, nor do I fall into any of the other stereotypes that are associated with North American soccer fans. I’m a Canadian by birth and have called this country home my entire life. I’m not a fan of any one particular team either (although I will confess some sympathies for our local Major League Soccer franchise, Toronto FC).

I cite this because another stereotype is that Canadians tend to cheer for soccer teams based on their ethnic origins. For example, since I have a strong English ancestry, I am supposed to cheer for a team based in England. Perhaps a team like Manchester United. Or one of the London teams such as Arsenal or Chelsea. I also have some Scottish blood, so perhaps I need to cheer for either of Glasgow’s legendary teams. Hmm – should I choose the green and white warriors from Celtic, or should I choose the blue and white of their bitter crosstown rivals the Rangers. Maybe I should research this longstanding rivalry before making a decision.

A Canadian of German descent might be a big fan of a team from the Bundesliga such as Bayern Munich. And of course let’s not forget our Italian-Canadians, who will no doubt cheer passionately for their favourite teams in the Serie A league. I could go on, but you get the idea!

But in my case, I simply love the game. Soccer has an ebb and flow to it that no other sport has. When played at its highest level, it is spectacular. I enjoy watching soccer, especially when one of the major global soccer events takes place and I know that the games will be incredible, intense and spine-tingling. That time has now arrived.

As I write this blog entry, it’s a warm early June Saturday night in Hamilton. But more important, it’s day two of one of these global soccer events I referred to above. In this case it’s the Euro 2012 Championships. The tournament is held every four years, in the same year as the Summer Olympic Games. Like its larger and more famous tournament cousin (the FIFA World Cup), the Euro tournament is also held in the even numbered years, but it’s staggered so that every two years you get a world class soccer tournament. And when you also factor in the South American championship the Copa America which is also held every four years, but in the one prior to the Summer Olympic Games (the next one is scheduled for 2015), these types of tournaments happen nearly every year. If you’re a soccer fan – ya gotta love it!

I’m writing this blog entry today because of a chance encounter I had this morning at one of our local shopping malls. Since I knew that today was going to be a real hot one (and it was!), I decided to get out of my apartment and with my trusty laptop in hand I headed for the Hamilton Public Library’s Central branch. Those of you who read my blogs regularly know that my previous two entries were written there. But this time I was there in order to work on some other matters. The Library opens at 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays, and I arrived a few minute later. By 11:30 I was done and it was time to come home. Or at least that was the plan. But here’s where this chance encounter took place.

After wrapping things up at the Library I decided to wander through the two major shopping malls in downtown Hamilton: Jackson Square and the Hamilton City Centre. It’s actually quite easy to do because the two are connected to each other. To the point where many people I know don’t think of them as two separate malls, but as one large retail complex. One of my favourite stores that I love to browse through is a combined video and bookstore in the Hamilton City Centre.

When I walked in, the place was fairly quiet – but shortly after my arrival, I heard a couple of guys talking about the Euro 2012 tournament. One of them lamented that he wanted to watch the games online but didn’t know how to access it. I suggested that he try TSN’s Euro 2012 Pay Per View Tournament Pass being offered for $20.00. But then another guy had a better suggestion. A Web site that would allow you to watch Euro 2012 online for free. The Web site is located at: ATDHE Sports

Fortunately, this fellow gave me a piece of paper with the Web site listed on it, and when I got home later on I decided to give it a try. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that it actually worked. Why was I surprised? In the past I had often heard about these types of Web sites that would allow you to watch online sports for free. But every time I tried one of these sites, it wouldn’t work for any number of reasons. Sometimes I had technical problems. Or there were geographical restrictions (for example, a site that allowed you to watch the Barclay’s English Premier League games online – but only available in Europe). But in the end, I was able to access the ATDHE Sports site with no trouble.

So to use the title of this blog entry, why doesn’t TSN want you to know about this site? Very simple. TSN (also known by its full name: The Sports Network) is one of two major Canadian sports television channels (Rogers Sportsnet is the other). For those outside Canada, you could say that these two channels are the Canadian equivalents of sports networks such as ESPN or Fox Sports.

TSN holds the Canadian rights to broadcast Euro 2012, and they are offering what they call a Tournament Pass. It’s actually not a bad deal when you first look at it. $20.00 buys you online access to every game in the Euro 2012 tournament. And it can be tempting to go to the TSN Web site and make the purchase. On game day, just fire up the TSN site and follow the appropriate instructions. Within minutes you are watching one of the tournament matches live right on your computer. Simple, convenient and relatively inexpensive. Until you discover, as I did this afternoon, that I can get the same thing for free. And that’s why TSN doesn’t want you to know about this.

After all, let’s suppose that 10,000 Canadians decide to access the ATDHE Sports Web site rather than paying the $20 and watching TSN. Do the math, people. That’s $200,000 of lost revenue. Now do you see what I am getting at? TSN wouldn’t want anyone to know about the ATDHE site. But I know about it. So did the guy in the video store who told me. Same for the others in that conversation. If we all decide to spread the word far and wide about ATDHE and that you don’t have to pay the $20 and buy TSN’s Euro 2012 Tournament Pass – I think you can figure out the rest of it, right?

Before I go, since someone is bound to ask, here’s my take on the the Euro 2012 Championships. I am picking Spain to defend their 2008 title, and they will play Germany in the Final on July 1. Or if the Germans don’t get that far, then I think it will be a replay of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Spain will defeat the Netherlands.

Since much of my ancestry is English (and some Irish and Scottish too), my emotional choices are England and Ireland (Scotland didn’t qualify this time, maybe we will see them four years from now at the 2016 tournament). But I am realistic enough to know that both teams are in tough and will be lucky to emerge from their respective groups into the next round. So while I wish both the English and the Irish teams the very best of luck, I do so knowing that neither team likely will not go far.

That’s all for today. As always, thanks so much for reading my blog. And if you’re a soccer fan, I hope you enjoy these next three weeks as the Euro 2012 tournament plays out. It promises to be quite a show, let’s hope that it lives up to its billing.

Until next time!

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