Power to the People

In many sports these days the power of the dollar is often favoured over the wishes of fans.

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Last week in Australian a funny thing happened, where the power of the Australian Ice Hockey’s fans fought a battle via social media against the governing body, The AIHL and won. Let’s look at what happened.

An announcement was made during the week that the 2013 AIHL Finals Series would not be broadcast via Livestream and instead would only be viewable via subscription television on Foxtel. The series has been shown via Livestream every year since 2006.

To rub salt into the wounds of devastated fans, the Finals would be shown over three weeks which is not so great when you know the score and most fans are moving onto their Summer sports.

The decision sent Twitter and Facebook into meltdown. Families of the Import Players from around the world would not get the opportunity to see their loved ones play in the biggest game of the year.

Throughout the year a number of clubs have streamed matches over the internet via Livestream. It is known that the friends and families of the players often get up at 3am or 4am to watch the AIHL matches live and some even have viewing parties.

Fans passionately voiced their opinions via social media however the AIHL remained silent on the issue. In what would seem a further slap in the face the AIHL deleted any negative comments from their sites further angering fans who vented even more anger and despair.

One mother of a Perth Thunder player lamented the fact that between herself and her husband only one could make the trip to Melbourne to watch the game. She had solace on the fact she could watch via the stream. She now faced the possibility of not seeing the game at all as they can not afford Foxtel.

As people power grew into a tidal wave of backlash against the AIHL, it announced that the Finals would now be streamed live via Livestream and pleaded with fans to still watch the Foxtel broadcast when it was scheduled to be shown.

It all goes to show how passionate the fans of Australian Ice Hockey are. Would this have happened in any other sport in these modern times?  That’s an interesting question.

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