Saturday's game live and free on ESPN

Last updated : 20 January 2010 By Firparkcorner

The match against St Mirren has been on ESPN's schedule for some months but the news that the game will be available without subscription on Freeview, cable and satellite can hardly be good news for Motherwell.

Hammell on TV
One of the consequences of live coverage of SPL matches is that the number of paying spectators falls. The last 'live' game at Fir Park was the December meeting with Celtic. It was on Sky and it attracted 7,807 fans. In years gone by Old Firm visits would guarantee a sell out. Those were the days! When Rangers visited Hamilton earlier this month for the fourth round Scottish Cup tie fewer than four thousand turned to New Douglas Park.

So, how St Mirren fans will choose to pay £22 for a chilly January seat in the South Stand when the game can be viewed from multiple camera positions with replays and analysis from the comfort of a cosy armchair? How many Motherwell fans will make the same decision about the Cooper Stand?

The sooner clubs and their TV partners can come to an agreement which encourages fans to attend matches the better. A fiver a head would deliver better crowds, a better atmosphere inside the stadia and a better backdrop for the broadcaster. Fans are still the life blood of the game. While clubs are attracted to the revenue which TV agreements deliver, no one enjoys a football match on the box if it is surrounded by near empty stands.

St Mirren last paid us a visit in October when we played SPL and CIS cup games within four days. The crowds were 4,327 and 4,325. What will be the attendacnce for Saturday's 1230 kick off?