Hawk-Eye seeks sponsors for goal-line technology deal

Sports technology firm Hawk-Eye has offered to install goal-line technology in every Premier League ground free of charge, in exchange for lucrative sponsorship fees.

Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard

The company, which already provides the technology to the main tennis grand slam events, says sponsorship rights could cover the costs of installing and running the system, in a similar way to its use in other sports.

The move follows the public outrage after a Frank Lampard goal in last week’s match against Germany was ruled out, despite camera footage showing it had clearly crossed the line. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has since apologised to the Football Association over the matter, and has pledged to revisit the use of goal-line technology in the sport.

However, sponsorship of Hawk-Eye has proved controversial in the past. Last year, Ofcom rapped Sky Sports for giving “undue prominence” to Specsavers’ sponsorship of the Hawk-Eye technology used in its Ashes coverage.

The broadcast regulator dismissed Sky’s argument that the technology is ’programme-related’ material, and argued that such additions should not be sponsored.

However during Wimbledon matches, the BBC opts to show the tournament’s version of Hawk-Eye as an official review, which is sponsored by Rolex.

Antony Marcou, managing director of sports media agency, Sports Revolution, says installing the equipment for free is missing the point, because the media value of using Hawk-Eye technology in the Premier League is so much more than the cost of installing the technology.

“The value of a sponsored Hawk-Eye replay in the Premier League would be huge. Not only does the worldwide audience of Premier League games mean it would be a global play, but the debate and anticipation about the use of goal line technology would make it a very hot media property. It also fits the bill for what sponsors are looking for – they want compelling, dramatic content and this is exactly what this would provide. It would be ideal for an international brand wanting to be associated with sound judgment, accuracy and authority.”

However, he warns: “A good question is whether Hawk-Eye itself is necessary. Sky has eight cameras at every game, so a simple TV replay would be enough in 99% of cases.”

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