SYDNEY (Reuters) - Frustrated by a lack of TV coverage of his team, a soccer fan has bought the Australian TV rights for Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Sweden to ensure that Irish down under don’t miss the crunch clash.
David Feeney told Reuters in a telephone interview that he was so frustrated at not being able to watch his team on television that he decided to buy the rights himself.
Originally from Dublin, Feeney contacted a friend involved in broadcasting in Ireland before making a bid to Kentaro, the German media company that owned the broadcast rights.
“They said my bid was too low, but that it was close… then I raised bid and they said OK,” says Feeney, who has partnered with a horse-racing channel to show the match via a closed-circuit system at a number of venues across Australia.
Australia is home to thousands of Irish people who have left the country since a property crash, and recession hit the country in 2008.
Feeney has also secured England’s qualifier away to Ukraine, and having used his home as security to borrow the money to buy the rights - costing “in the tens of thousands of dollars,” he said - the Irishman says the hardest person to convince in the whole process had been his wife.
“She was hardest to convince alright, but we have an agreement that if it (the venture) makes any money, she gets to keep it!” he said.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor in Stockholm