TV money torment for Town
CASH-strapped Ipswich Town have not only lost out on a £60,000 TV jackpot but £10,000 of it is being handed to arch-rivals Norwich.Police objections to the timing of Town's early season clash with West Ham mean they will lose out on the Sky television payout.
CASH-strapped Ipswich Town have not only lost out on a £60,000 TV jackpot but £10,000 of it is being handed to arch-rivals Norwich.
Police objections to the timing of Town's early season clash with West Ham mean they will lose out on the Sky television payout.
And the move has handed arch-rivals Norwich City an early taste of the television spotlight and a fat cheque.
Sky bosses had wanted to screen Ipswich Town's match with West Ham, on August 30, in its 5.35pm slot.
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However Suffolk police objected to the proposal because they feared trouble as fans left the ground.
So instead of screening Ipswich-West Ham, the satellite broadcaster will now be screening Nottingham Forest's home clash with Norwich.
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Home teams get a £60,000 fee every time a match is screened live while the away team gets £10,000.
Officials at Ipswich Town were understood to be taking the loss of their live fixture in their stride - but the decision does mean the club will not feature in the first 17 of 50 live Nationwide League matches being screened by Sky next season.
West Ham, just a short road or rail trip from Ipswich, are expected to bring their full allocation of fans for one of the biggest matches in the Nationwide League.
Police are concerned that with up to 3,000 West Ham fans - along with up to 27,000 Ipswich fans - pouring into the town just as pubs and clubs get busy at 7.30pm on Saturday there could be problems.
When West Ham last visited Ipswich in late 2001 it was a Sunday afternoon televised match and there were few problems.
But when Ipswich played at 5.35pm against Portsmouth on Good Friday there were serious problems after the match.
"With the number of fans coming to the game and the number coming into town at that time for a night out, we felt it would be unwise to agree to the match," said a police spokesman.
"We took into account the opposition and the number of fans they were likely to bring before we made our decision - it wasn't something we decided lightly.
"And it certainly doesn't mean we will object to all matches at that time - our response will depend on who they are, where they're from, and how many fans they're likely to bring."
That decision means the police would almost certainly block any attempt to move the Ipswich-Norwich match to a late Saturday afternoon if Sky wanted to broadcast that later in the season.
The police would have been happy to police the West Ham match at lunchtime if Sky Sports wanted to screen it then, but no Nationwide matches are being screened that lunchtime.