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By: Bill Osborne
Date: 31/05/2002

MARINERS Net, like all other clubs' official web sites, is part of FLPTV, a joint venture set up between the Football League and Premium TV, a subsidiary of NTL. "This is Bristol" says it is proposing that fans will be asked to pay to get some services from the official web sites.

The report says: "While some features will remain free, others - including live commentary and video highlights of games - will only be available under a new pay-for-access scheme expected to be introduced by nearly all the 72 Nationwide League clubs in August.

The charge has yet to be finalised but is expected to be around £5 a month or £35 for a year. Some Premiership clubs already charge fans for accessing certain parts of their websites, and now the trend is being followed by clubs in the lower divisions."

Over the last few years, Mariners Net has been providing a commentary on matches across the net. It was originally started by Martin Handsley as a free service to fans in text form with Martin typing the commentary on a laptop as we gathered in the chatroom. Later he changed to audio commentaries on Real Audio. The service was later passed on to Radio Humberside who now manage the service using Windows Media.

For exiles such as myself, and others who for some reason cannot get to the game, the internet commentaries are vital. Apart from the odd televised Grimsby match on TV, it gives us a chance to be at the game (so to speak).

The club have not so far, made any announcements on this service or if they intend to charge a fee but looking at the financial plight the club is in, it does provide an opportunity for the club to derive income from those who are unable to attend the games and 'pay at the gate.'

If the fee is as reported (£5 a month or £35 for a year.) then I would I personally consider that to be a bargain. It equates to about two visits to Blundell Park for fans who can get there and it also provides another way for the club to raise much needed funds by setting a reasonable fee.

It is not expected that the internet commentaries will be the only feature of this package. It may also include, video highlights, goals etc. It will be interesting to see what the club proposes if anything, but it would seem unlikely that they would not participate in a venture that most clubs will be entering into.

Do you use this service? Would you pay? Do you think £35 a year is reasonable? Answers on the Message Board please and we will pass on your views to the club.

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