SBS set to wreck marriages

IN an announcement surely destined to spark divorce proceedings across Australia, SBS has confirmed it will broadcast every match of the upcoming soccer World Cup live and exclusive.

It is news with monumental consequences for employers as well as spouses.

Being hosted in Brazil means group stage kick-offs are generally 1.30, 4.30 and 7.30 in the morning for Australian viewers.

This does not bode well for productivity.

Consider, for example, Thursday, June 19.

At 1.30am Australia will play the Netherlands - can't see the Dutch getting much change out of that game. At 4.30am, the other finalist from 2010, reigning champion Spain takes on Chile and by 7.30am you can't exactly go back to bed so will feel obliged to watch Croatia take on Cameroon.

Try performing brain surgery after that.

Last week, SBS issued its FIFA World Cup media kit. It is a document to warm the soul, its very colours bringing unbounded joy leaping from the page like a glorious rainbow with a little Les Murray sitting beside its pot of gold.

It states that more than 10 million Aussies watched the 2010 World Cup on SBS which also holds exclusive broadcast rights to the 2018 and 2022 tournaments - which for bizarre reasons, known only to FIFA delegates, will be held in Russia and Qatar.

The station claims this year's broadcast of all 64 games will total "over 700 hours of coverage across a four-week period".

By my calculations, there are only 672 hours in a four- week period so this is indeed impressive coverage.

Even taking into account the simultaneous broadcasts of final group stage matches on SBS One and 2, there will need to be an awful lot of surplus analysis by Craig Foster to satisfy this claim. Still, he's up to it.

The coverage crew features the usual suspects of David Zdrilic, Ned Zelic, Zeljko Kalac, Aytek Genc, Lucy Zelic and even some not hailing from the Balkans.

Comedian Sam Pang will personally investigate Brazil's reputation as a race of great dancers, footballers and, er, love makers. He's dedicated to his job that Sam.

The team will again be led by the doyen of Australian soccer broadcasting, former Hungarian subtitler Les Murray at what will be his eighth World Cup for the station.

It all kicks off with Brazil versus Croatia on Friday, June 13, and runs through to the final between Spain and Brazil (probably) on Monday, July 14.

If you do find yourself watching Iran versus Bosnia-Herzegovina at 1.30am on Thursday, June 26, you are indeed truly dedicated.

And probably divorced.

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