CABLE use extra channel to show both title deciders live

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 May, 1999, 12:00am

First things first. CABLE TV is going to go split channel with its coverage of Sunday's Premier League finale. Channel Six will carry the Manchester United v Spurs match while Channel 18 has Arsenal v Aston Villa, both live.

Each game will then be immediately shown again on the other channel, although it's hard to imagine any viewer patiently sitting through the two games in sequence - channel hopping will be the order of the day.

With United on a 30-match unbeaten streak it's probably not as suspenseful as it looked like being last week, but as long as the mathematical options are there it's worth watching.

The past week's games suggested there is something of a ragged edge to the end-of-season Premiership, especially Blackburn v Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough v Manchester United. That said, Aston Villa v Charlton, Spurs v Chelsea and Leeds v Arsenal were all quality offerings.

In an ideal world CABLE would also follow the relegation struggle with Charlton v Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton v Everton, but it would be asking a bit much of CABLE to give up four channels to live soccer. Or would it? Last week it was noted that Rupert Murdoch's global digestion of major televised soccer assets had made a big move in Germany.

His TM3 channel, noted previously for its women's health and lifestyle programming, acquired sole rights in Germany to the next four years' worth of Champions' League matches. As always with the News Corp, too much is never enough and TM3 is now taking its born-again interest in football to a new level by targeting the rights to the Bundesliga.

The auction for the Bundesliga First Division rights comes up this summer and the commercial station SAT 1 has the rights to show Bundesliga games until June 2000.