There is no doubt in my mind that the right sports coverage is essential to the enjoyment of an event. Of course, actually attending and watching live is the best way to watch sport but there are often practical reasons that is not possible. If you’ve ever tried to buy a ticket and arrange accommodation for a Champions League Final you’ll know what I mean, in fact even the hotel room can cost a King’s ransom.
Even without the cost, there are other reasons for avoiding the live event. An important one for me is ‘hay fever’ – one of my favourite sports is tennis however after years of sitting in itchy eye, sneezy purgatory on center court I gave up that activity. I never knew quite why my allergy was so bad in Wimbledon, after all there’s surely not that much pollen there. The courts aren’t exactly fields of long grass, yet for me there is something in Wimbledon Tennis Courts which sets off my hay fever with a vengeance.
So it’s one sport I have to watch at a distance, which is unfortunate really as Wimbledon tickets are usually easier to get than many sports. The reason is that most clubs get an allocation and they are normally distributed to members, Wimbledon also retains some tickets to sell on the gate which I think is a great gesture to allow normal tennis fans in.
The advantage is you can watch all the best matches without the crowds and hassle by watching the wonderful BBC Wimbledon coverage. Now I’ve only ever seen Wimbledon coverage once from another broadcaster and it was truly awful. Of course the matches were fine, but the background, the commentary and the dreadful adverts crammed in whenever there was a minutes gap completely spoilt it for me. The beauty of the BBC coverage is that’s it is so relaxed, drifting effortlessly across the courts with idle musings from tennis legends like John McEnroe to fill in the gaps.
The problem is that although the coverage is all streamed live on the BBC website and through the BBC iPlayer application none of this works from outside the UK. It’s because of the standard geo-restrictions that most of the world’s best media site now employ which restrict access to specific countries. So if you try and connect from anywhere outside the UK you won’t be able to watch the BBC and that includes Wimbledon! But fear not there is a solution, where you can be saved from endless adverts at changeovers and watch the BBC Wimbledon coverage abroad. It’s cheating ever so slightly, but basically hiding your IP address from nosey websites by using a VPN connection is actually a very good idea in this day and age. If that VPN server happens to be in the UK so I can watch the BBC iPlayer online is entirely coincidental !!