"Back of the net!"

But will footie highlights on your handset improve the operators' net?

But will footie highlights on your handset improve the operators' net?

Yesterday Vodafone announced it had secured highlights of the UEFA Champions League, which kicks off this evening. But to use a hackneyed cliché, the past couple of days have proved to be a game of two halves. For today rival operator 3 came out strongly, possibly after receiving the hairdryer treatment at half time from 'the gaffer', to announce that it too had secured highlights of the Champions League. So a score draw (though being the visitors, 3 can probably claim the upper hand on away goals... or something). Will this prove to be the signing which turns the season around? In truth it is probably more 'nice to have' than 'must have' - but then mobile phones have rarely been a necessity and it would be a bolder pundit than even Big Ron who predicts when consumers will stop ploughing cash into the operators' bottomless coffers. But surely this can't be the feature which wins back any more than a fraction of those license fees? After all a 30-yard screamer from David Beckham will always look better on a 28 inch TV or a big screen down the pub than it will on a 3-inch mobile phone screen. Mobile phone operators have to be seen to be innovating and providing quality content but they can never change this simple fact. For the first few weeks the services will probably provide a few 'water-cooler moments' in the office as blokes pass around a handset watching goals from the previous night's matches which they have already seen on TV and have already read about in the paper on their way into work. And it certainly won't be the USP that live Premiership football proved for Sky. In truth it's more a case of wanting to be seen to be offering the best. Did Real Madrid actually need David Beckham? No of course not and nor do 3 or Vodafone. What's been announced looks good and it makes your marketing more effective but it's not going to revolutionise anything.