Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pay to View

A year or two back there was much talk about webcasting curling events in Scotland. The Royal Club even had discussions on linking up with a professional company to broadcast a number of events throughout the season. Cost was the main stumbling block to progressing this I understand.

It had been the Perth Masters organisers who had led the way. The Edinburgh International took up the baton and, aside from the BBC's webcasts during the Scottish Championships, the event at Murrayfield is the only competition providing live webcasts of some games. So this year again, you can watch the action on your computer.

At a cost!

It's only £3 for the whole weekend, and this will give access to the game archive too. The sign up procedure is straightforward, as I've just tried it out and registered, and I now have my password which will enable me to watch the games if I cannot be at Murrayfield in person. The sign up page is here.

Robin Copland describes how the decisions were made on which games to webcast. He writes, "Webcasts start at 13.45 on Friday, November 25 with the local Scottish derby game between Stranraer’s Frazer Hare and Perth’s David Smith. Both these teams will have their supporters and they should serve up an interesting game of curling on ice that is drawing a good four feet at draw weight on recently-turned stones. Frazer has Robbie Stevenson playing third, with a front end of Jamie Strawhorn and Don Frame. David has namesake Warwick at third, Craig Wilson at second and Ross Hepburn throwing lead stones.

On Friday at 19.15, we have decided to webcast young Jay McWilliams’s game versus the vastly-experienced Thomas Ulsrud side from Norway. Jay has local Murrayfield curler Colin Dick at third, Grant Hardie at second and his cousin Billy Morton at lead. Colin and Billy are reigning Scottish junior champions. Had their team not been swamped by lurgy at Perth in the world junior championships earlier this year, I think that they may very well have medalled. Thomas Ulsrud and his team of Torger Nergård, Christopher Svae and Håvard Vad Petersson need no introduction to Scottish TV fans. They have featured in many World, Olympic and European championship games in the recent past.

On Saturday, our first webcast will be at 10.45 when we will feature the game between Logan Gray and regular Edinburgh competitors, David Śik and his team from the Czech Republic. Logan has Al Guthrie, Steve Mitchell and Murrayfield’s own Sandy Gilmour, while David brings Radek Boháč, Karel Uher and Milan Polívka over from the continent.

Later on that day (and depending on how the league tables are looking), we plan to cover the Tom Brewster versus John Hamilton game on Saturday at 13.50 and the David Murdoch versus Graham Shedden tie at 19.15.

We will cover one of the semifinals on Sunday, November 27 at 11.30 and the championship final at 14.30.

All times are UK. CET is one hour ahead."

The event website is here. has set a very high standard for curling webcasts this season, and it will be interesting to see how Alex Mitchell and his team compares on the technical side, and how the commentators stand up to the challenge. It's not easy. How many will sign up? The £3 is a nominal amount, but the statistics on take up will certainly determine if a market exists for webcasting in the future. Or if it does not!

Top: Robin Copland behind the microphone at the Edinburgh International Championship last year. Photo © Skip Cottage.