Share Sponsored Links When broadcasters put down billions of pounds to secure rights to the world's biggest sporting competitions, consumers who aren't able to afford or don't want pay-TV subscriptions often miss out. In the past, companies like Sky and BT have laid on a free day or weekend of access to show people what they're missing, but more recently, online video services have proved to be popular alternatives. With the Premier League season kicking off tomorrow, Sky has confirmed it will stream its Soccer Saturday show completely free of charge on Facebook and YouTube. It'll build on Sky's commitment to share goals and other important match events directly on Twitter and in its official apps.
Three o'clock. You don't have tickets to watch your team play so what do you do? All options have their merits, but Jeff Stelling chairing Sky's live coverage on Saturdays has propelled it into the must-watch category for many fans who want to stay up-to-date with how their teams are getting on.
But it isn't for everyone though. Sportsmail's Nick Metcalfe believes the show approaching its 20th year with Stelling at the helm has become a charade.
Nick's colleague Mark Alford on the other hand insists the banter and camaraderie is what makes the show great, claiming it's THE football show for fans. Soccer Saturday has reached that point, and I find it utterly unwatchable.
The time between 3pm and 5pm on a Saturday afternoon is a sacred one for all football fans and I'm still old-fashioned enough to presume the byword should be information, not entertainment.
But Soccer Saturday?
It's little more than a charade. Former professionals like Paul Merson have moulded the show into a parody, according to Nick Metcalfe Sensational: Nick believes that Stelling's broadcasting is the show's only saving grace 'Let the ex-pros focus on their charity golf circuit and put the emphasis back on proper journalists and broadcasters, and a real service for fans.
Why are they always shouting? And shrieking. It's supposed to be a football information programme, not a screaming match between ex-professionals. The man that holds it all together, Jeff Stelling, is still peerless, a truly superb broadcast journalist.
His research is clearly impeccable, and he makes a tough job look extremely easy.
But even he's joining in with the unnecessary element of pantomime now. Yes, we know you love Hartlepool, Jeff. Stelling shows off a Hartlepool mascot during a show Even the BBC's alternative to Soccer Saturday on television, Final Score with Gabby Logan, offers a more dignified - if a little uninspiring - watch.
But I'm lost with Soccer Saturday. The show may have been a good old laugh in the s, when it felt truly original, but it's a tiresome bore now. Style over substance: Nick says the show has become about egos rather than the live scores Give Stelling more presenting gigs on a range of sports.
Let the ex-pros focus on their charity golf circuit. And put the emphasis back on proper journalists and broadcasters, and a real football service for the fans.
I love comedy. I love pantomime. But not between 3pm and 5pm on a Saturday. It's time for Soccer Saturday to undergo a major revamp, or for something more adult to replace it.
Remember when you had to follow the scores on Teletext? Jeff Stelling is brilliant.
His love of Hartlepool is endearing. Just ask anyone who has ever played in a team sport. My personal favourites from the current crop are Paul Merson and Phil Thompson. Both have faces for radio, but on Soccer Saturday the animation and enthusiasm they bring to Stoke winning a corner keeps me interested, if not especially captivated.
Next year, Soccer Saturday celebrates its 20th birthday yes, really. George Best used to be a panellist. Every bloody football ground I went to, even though we at the ITV had a show, it would be your sodding programme showing!