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The Sky Deal

By Jimmy I'Anson :  03/12/2009 :  Comments (41) :
As a Blue that now lives in Scotland and cannot get to the game very regularly anymore, I was trying to find a link to the game last night. Fucking about with this link and that link while they inevitably crash just when we’re about to score...

The game was on ESPN which I would need to subscribe to in order to watch it. The cost of this is £12 per month and looking at the fixtures they’re showing, most involve the Sky 4 and rarely Everton. Also, Sky offers the sports package which would cost about £40 a month to watch the Blues on average once a month.

The reason I don’t subscribe to these packages is because, barring the odd game, I have no interest in watching the Sky 4 every week, never mind contributing to their already bulging coffers with my cash. Now don’t get me wrong, the Sky deal we have is a good deal but I just feel that the Premier League clubs and Sky are missing out on a massive opportunity.

We are playing Chelsea next week and although the TV cameras are there, I cannot pay Sky or Everton to watch this game. This, I feel, is a missed opportunity. Why is it that Sky doesn’t have pay-per-view? Even if it is only on the non-featured games. Surely the business model is fundamentally wrong when I, as a consumer, want to pay Everton and Sky for this service and they won’t/can’t take my money?

I know this would have an impact on their subscriptions but if they look at the bigger picture, I reckon it would be more lucrative. Ok, maybe former subscribers would only pay now and then but I’m sure they would still get more cash from the fan bases of 20 clubs every week rather than just the elite few. Alternatively, they could offer me an Everton season ticket where I get to watch every Everton game all season. This could be sold to fans worldwide and considering Everton have around a million fans I believe it could be very lucrative for every club and Sky.

We are looking and spending a couple of hundred million quid on a stadium to get an extra 15,000 seats when we could have an extra 50,000 season tickets holders for the cost of fuck all. Everton will have an idea of the amount of interest as our first Europa league game was only available on EvertonTV.

You see, as a businessman myself, I have never been and will never be in the situation were a customer wants to give me money and I don’t get it off him. NEVER! The clubs and Sky should act now before live streaming is actually worth watching.

Reader Comments

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Jay Harris
1   Posted 03/12/2009 at 23:20:05

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Jimmy the season ticket is IMO a very good idea and I dont think there would be anything to stop Everton TV offering that service.

Anyone else know if the sky deal prevents Everton TV from offering full games?

I believe we already have ManU TV chelsea TV etc so I believe it could be a real attraction for the non matchgoing (for whatever reason)supporters.
Dennis Stevens
2   Posted 03/12/2009 at 23:30:30

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I too have no interest in paying to watch other clubs play each other & so don’t subscribe to Sky, etc. However, if one day I can subscribe to an Everton package to watch all those matches I can’t get to, I’d be very interested. No doubt it’ll come one day, but it’s frustrating in the mean-time.
Jonny Roberts
3   Posted 04/12/2009 at 00:19:14

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I think the reason they do not offer a season ticket to watch games on TV is that it will likely stop people actually going to the game.

I currently live in the USA, and all NFL games are shown live on local TV, but if not enough match tickets are sold there is a TV blackout to force people to buy tickets. This would be tough to enforce in England because our country is similar in size to many of their states, that normally only have one team!!!

Would be good to trial it, though, I guess...
John Andrews
4   Posted 04/12/2009 at 00:35:40

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I only paid £9.00 for the whole season !
Joey Brown
5   Posted 04/12/2009 at 01:24:22

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Considering I already pay a good bit for Everton TV just to get gameday audio if there is not a feed on the internet, I image I’d pay a good bit more to have all the Everton games through a reliable feed every week. Too bad no one with power has had this thought.
Dave Wilson
6   Posted 04/12/2009 at 06:22:17

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Interesting post, Jimmy.

I think Johnny hits the nail on the head, showing every game would have to have a detrimental effect on attendances.

This season while the younger members of our group have been gallivanting around Europe, we’ve kinda got into the habit of meeting at one of the houses and we love it. Nice warm house, company of your choice, no traffic, beers without queueing, all the latest jokes... you can even stand up if you want to, it's absolutely brilliant.

If you could guarantee every Everton match would be on telly, I could guarantee half a dozen of us would not renew our tickets next year, grounds would empty up and down the country mate.
Who knows? Maybe the lost gate money may well be offset by the newly generated TV revenue, but personally I found the only downside of Wednesday night was the thousands and thousands of empty spaces, didn’t like that one bit.

Maybe if the club's benefited more from TV deals — how much more can they get though? — they could still ensure big crowds by dramatically reducing the cost of tickets?
Trevor Williams
7   Posted 04/12/2009 at 07:38:09

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Another point to mention here is that the English FA are signed up to a long standing clause which means no League games can be shown between 2:45pm and 5:15pm on a Saturday afternoon. This has been in place for years and I guess Sky have tried to remove it...

You also have to remember that smaller clubs will be affected if the big clubs show their games. A lot of fans go to local smaller games when they can't get to their own team as often.

James I'Anson
8   Posted 04/12/2009 at 08:27:10

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To be fair, I’ve possibly overlooked the detrimental effect it would have on matchday attendances but personally I don’t think it’s any substitution to the real thing. Although absence makes the heart grow fonder.

If it did have this effect then maybe Sky could offer us an away game season ticket. Also they could offer the full season ticket to our overseas fans only. This could still be very lucrative although if they done this I’d be well pissed off as it’s my idea and I’d still be on Iraq goals.

Gavin Ramejkis
9   Posted 04/12/2009 at 09:14:56

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James and Jonny, I agree with you both. To be honest I think web based broadcasting is the long term route for the majority of televised events. Just look at the growing broadcasting already and the popularity of technology such as BBC’s iPlayer. The club could do well to embrace this sort of technology. Better to earn the money from it rather than lose out surely?
Tony I'Anson
10   Posted 04/12/2009 at 09:26:54

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In the glory days of the vinyl records, then CDs and DVDs whoever thought the music business model could be hijacked. And then came era of the free music downloads and file sharing that caught the music industry with their knickers down. It was only then they did something about it and now we have the download charts, iTunes etc. Does this stop people going to pop concerts, or people buying CDs and DVDs? No.

It is the same for the form of entertainment that is football. With careful thought and the use of postcode technology and the like, there could be restrictions on certain distances from a ground (eg 100 miles?) within which you cannot get the service for your team.

At some point folks, this will happen but I wonder if the world of football will be tripping over their shorts for not seeing the opportunity first. Will this also be owned and controlled by some Far East entrepreneur yet to make his billions?
Richard Dodd
11   Posted 04/12/2009 at 09:30:10

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Amongst all the carping about Sky, it’s often overlooked that there would be no Premier League without it! Certainly players would not be earning the vast sums they do and even the odd manager might be denied his £60k a week!

The whole shebang costs me £40 a month and that includes ESPN which I blagged when renewing my Sky package. For that I can get access — either live or via Football First recorded — and don’t miss much of the action of my beloved Blues.

I reckon your stay in the Highlands has turned you into a Scots skinflint, Jimmy!

Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 04/12/2009 at 09:50:14

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Everton do not own the rights to broadcast their Premier League matches. We received nearly £50mill last season for that privilege... and is implicit in being a signatory to the Premier League.

Anyway, would you seriously trust this club to organise the broadcasting of their games?

And as a poster further up said, a Premier League TV season ticket is impossible due to the broadcasting ban on 3 o'clock Saturday games being broadcast in the UK.
Tony I'Anson
13   Posted 04/12/2009 at 09:50:19

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Richard, Is watching after the event not like turning up at a singles bar after everyone has copped off with all the talent?
Eric Myles
14   Posted 04/12/2009 at 10:03:20

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Jimmy, your Everton TV season ticket for fans outside UK could be a winner.

When I was living in Seoul the only matches I could see were when Everton played ManU, Spurs or Reading who were shown every week as they had Korean players in the team. But since I’ve moved to Thailand I get to see most Everton Premier League games and have seen them all this season. So I don’t understand why I can see them here but yous can’t in UK ’cos the cameras have got to be at the game haven’t they.

Gareth Humphreys
15   Posted 04/12/2009 at 11:07:16

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Jiimmy, being in business myself I couldn’t agree more. Someone wants to give you money for a product that you can provide, you go and look at ways you can provide it.

I understand the attendances would be affected but I remember going to Goodison back in the late 80s early 90s and the crowds were down to the early 20s. I don’t remember the atmosphere being any worse than it is now though. Anyway, do you really want people there who wouldn’t go if it was on TV? As long as Everton could tap into that money ongoing who is arsed? They might actually pay towards a nice new ground in L4.

Richard Dodd - as a fellow formby resident and blue I don’t think I could disagree with you any more. Are you saying that the wages the players are now on is a good thing? Also, I don’t think that the Premier League is necessarily a good thing. I don’t remember being upset about the state of things in 1987.

There is too much English footy on TV. Simple. I am quite happy for Match of the Day on Saturday night, pay per view for everything else at say £5 a game to whichever club you subscribe and if all else fails, get your arse to the ground.

I cancelled my Sky subscription on the basis that they and the Champions league format have created a deluxe SPL in England and only massive investment by someone will dislodge that. We now have Football Monopoly in England and only the super rich can play.

Tony I'Anson
16   Posted 04/12/2009 at 11:39:51

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Customer is King marketing people have been taught. Customers want choice.

They will travel 100’s of miles to Goodison if they want to.
They will watch on Sky from around the corner if they want to (when available)
They will watch on if that’s all they can get.

As it stands, someone living next to the Wimslow can go in there on a match day and sink a swift 6 pints with lots of fans, then go home at 2.50pm and login to and watch the match. They can even open their window to hear the crowd for extra atmosphere. This goes for any Everton fan across the world, barr the open window and the Wimslow extras. This effectively puts the FA rule of showing live games on a Saturday between 3 and 5pm out the window.

And someone said before, if the game was on the telly every week, they would not get a season ticket. That’s their choice. But I reckon if in the same season, someone offered them a Derby ticket, they would bite their hands off for it.

My prediction is that Clubs will depend on a core of season ticket holders (eg 20-30,000) and try to fill the rest of an unobstructed view stadium from a fan base who attend for 2-6 games a season whenever they can. These part-time attendees would also be willing to pay let’s say £50 a month (well I would) to see the rest of the games from their home on the proper telly.

Fans from the rest of the world will probably only visit Goodison a few times in their lifetime, so their only way of supporting Everton financially at the moment, is buying merchandise off the website, then sitting with their Everton kit on in front of their PC watching the game for free. From a business point of view, this cannot be right.
Ciarán McGlone
17   Posted 04/12/2009 at 11:53:23

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’Someone wants to give you money for a product that you can provide, you go and look at ways you can provide it.’

The point being that they can’t provide it.

Full stop.
Gareth Humphreys
18   Posted 04/12/2009 at 12:42:29

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Ciaran, the point is that you look at ways that you can provide it. I understand that Everton can not sanction it but the FA and Sky are quite keen on making money and they surely can.
Ciarán McGlone
19   Posted 04/12/2009 at 13:12:30

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No they can’t. It’s a UEFA directive... and they make no money from it... so why would they alter it?

Pay per view seems to have diminised on Sky anyway... so I would assume there’s a reason for that. Probably based on a costing of provision, foreign alternatives and subscription..

It could also lead to the income from Sky being directly calculated on the basis of the season ticket... which could see a lot of smaller premiership clubs like us loosing out. We probably get more under the current system than we would under a season ticket system...
Tom Stokes
20   Posted 04/12/2009 at 13:28:02

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Be Careful What you wish for Jimmy...

The big four are crying out for this to happen for the simple reason that it will significantly increase their own revenues. We may have a great following but could we honestly compete in PPV sales against Arsenal, Utd and Liverpool particularly with the interest they generate in Asia?
Matt Traynor
21   Posted 04/12/2009 at 13:32:40

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An interesting debate. James l’Anson mentioned a season ticket for overseas fans. As a resident in Singapore (and Eric Myles resides in Thailand), we effectively have that.

The ESPN deal for the last round was GBP 625m (Singapore and Thailand went to a consortium of Starhub [Singapore], TEN [Dubai] and Goal TV [HK]).

This season (the last of the current deal in Singapore) every single game is shown live. There are now 7 channels that can show live Prem games. And given there are always some games on a Sunday / Monday, effectively every single Prem game is shown live. Getting your local boozer to show your game is tough (my local’s run by a Red, though he’s okay showing our games when they’re not on!)

But then my full cable TV package here costs me around 20 quid a month.

On top of all this, ESPN / STAR Sports show loads of football-interest programmes - some of which are specifically made by them, some of which (highlights, Premier League World etc.) are direct takes from Sky. Sky even co-produce some of the Asia-specific programmes.

Yes it’s football over-load, but there’s always other channels to watch, or the "off" button...
Tony I'Anson
22   Posted 04/12/2009 at 14:02:31

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Tom, your point only adds strength to the argument that if the teams you mention want it to happen, it is only a matter of time before it does happen. It’s just a matter of time.

That’s why it’s just as important to build our Everton brand across the world as being bought over by a Billionaire.
Chris Butler
23   Posted 04/12/2009 at 05:19:14

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In the recent weeks a lot's been made of Everton’s finances. In the summer, questions were asked about why we needed to sell to buy new players in. The major incomes for clubs usually come from TV, match gates, and merchandise.

In my opinion, during the credit crunch people are saving money and not wasting it on things they don’t need. Certain people only go the big games during the season against attractive opposition. Everton have countered this with a points system that they believe will attract fans to go the less glamorous ties. For example you get 25 points at most for an unattractive tie and 5 points for an away game or a normal home game.

What many people do not know is that the club has no option whether it allows Sky TV to cover the match as Sky buys the rights off the Premier League not the clubs. The clubs get a variety of fees depending on how big the club is, for example, Manchester United will get more than Bolton. But really in this world of ever more technological advances, people can subscribe for about £3 a month to foreign channels and watch 3 0 clock football and all the other Premier League games live.

With our game being rearranged for Sky it has set up a moral dilemma for me. I have become increasingly disillusioned with football... maybe it’s just our form this season but it seems other fans of other clubs feel the same. Sky, along with the greedy Premier League officials, have wrecked football.

Nowadays, there is a huge decrease in football support. Less than 10% of match going fans are under 24. The clubs may be able to milk the benefits now but when they don’t have anybody to go to the match in 10 years it will financially harm the club.

There is an increasing argument between growing clubs for the need to have the finances to compete with the top 4. There is a financial argument and a moral argument. I think football needs to go through a massive restoration as I can’t see where the next generation of fans will come from.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, football may be in its most financially successful decade but has anybody thought of the future? Selling games to Sky means fewer fans through the gate so you’ve lost potential custom and a potential fan.

Another thing is things need to be done to attract people to want to go to watch the game at Goodison Park. Also with cheaper leisure activities for people, football is becoming less popular.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are popular clubs that sell out most home games. The other maybe 13 or so clubs need to realise that they need to be thinking about future income, as, if more and more fans give up going the match, they will have lost a customer for life.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
24   Posted 04/12/2009 at 14:18:23

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Chris, "Nowadays, there is a huge decrease in football support. " — you’ve said this a number of times now... I’’m not going to check everyone but surely Everton, with some of the poorest fans, would be a good barometer of this, right?

Yet the evidence suggests it’s hardly ’massive’. We we’re about 1,200 down on the average league attendance last season (5th) compared with the season before (finished 5th). But we had a good FA Cup run with two trips to Wembley so that probably compensated in terms of people who decided they could forego some of the league games.

This season so far, our league average is 37,478, with loads more games in the Europa.

So where is this huge decrease in football support? Certainly not at Goodison... and I’m sure not infront of millions of TVs and computer screens.
James Stewart
25   Posted 04/12/2009 at 14:28:47

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Would you really want to pay to watch the current team attempt to hoof it to each other?
Ciarán McGlone
26   Posted 04/12/2009 at 15:23:40

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’What many people do not know is that the club has no option whether it allows Sky TV to cover the match as Sky buys the rights off the Premier League not the clubs. The clubs get a variety of fees depending on how big the club is, for example, Manchester United will get more than Bolton. But really in this world of ever more technological advances, people can subscribe for about £3 a month to foreign channels and watch 3 0 clock football and all the other Premier League games live. ’

Firstly, I do think a lot of our fans are knowledgeable about the rights to Premier League games. Secondly, the fees are not based on an abritrary notion like how ’big’ the club is... it’s based on screened matches, which is obviously based on demand and directly related to demand.

Thirdly, it’s not that cheap to subscribe to a foreign tv channel. It’s actually quite expensive if you want to legitimately received a satellite broadcast for ALL/Majority of the live games.
Roger Domal
27   Posted 04/12/2009 at 15:35:36

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As Mr Kenrick pointed out to a poster, there is absolutely no proof of the decline of the live audiences for Prem League games. And to say that poeple under the age of 24 have stopped going is rubbish. Where is your proof?

Anyway, this argument probably will appear on these pages in 10 years time. Sky isn’t going anywhere soon.
Tom Stokes
28   Posted 04/12/2009 at 15:36:41

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You're correct, Tony, we could and should do anything and everything we can to raise profile; however, I fear we are already light years behind the global fanbase of the other so-called big four clubs. That is not to say that we should not stop striving...

The reality of the situation is that gap between the big 4 and the chasing pack will only widen when a PPV system is inevitably introduced.
Dave Wilson
29   Posted 04/12/2009 at 15:49:33

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At the risk of sounding like a complete scally,

How does one go about "legitimately" subscribing to a foreign channel?

And when you say expensive, what are we talking about, hundreds? As much as a season ticket costs?
Ciarán McGlone
30   Posted 04/12/2009 at 16:04:37

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You buy a subscription..the right to view foreign satellite channels on a individual home basis has not been challenged in court (only public broadcasting)... And if it was challenged — making such activity illegal would probably breach EU freedom of services legislation...

They are not cheap... most of them are considerably more expensive than a season ticket... Sky Italia, Scandanavian Canal+, Greece Nova, Showtime Sports... all pretty dear.
Steve Ferns
31   Posted 04/12/2009 at 16:51:36

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I think a TV season ticket is the way forward and the future of the game. Soon you’ll be able to watch all of the Everton Games live on your TV, your computer and even your iPhone.

Now obviously if it’s cheaper to see the game on the box, then they need to think about what do about keeping crowds up. Simple, they should run the grounds as a loss leader, or at a small profit and reduces prices accordingly, obviously full house = better atmosphere and usually a better game.

If all the revenue made is shifted to TV then a cheap to run stadium would be ideal, and surely Goodison fits into this scernario and is one of the reasons I’ve been against sending the club to the brink of administration to build a new (mediocre) ground.
Jay Harris
32   Posted 04/12/2009 at 17:24:09

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not that I doubt you but how do ManU TV and Chelsea TV get away with it if Sky restricts their broadcasting?

And also do you know if Sky only have the UK broadcasting rights?
James I'Anson
33   Posted 04/12/2009 at 17:36:13

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Thanks for your responses. Some good arguments for and against. The thing about this is that if the clubs want it then it will eventually happen, with or without Sky.

The point of most concern is that, as Tom Stokes points out, some (not many) clubs have a bigger fanbase than our own. Although this is only because of recent success they have enjoyed. I’m sure with a bit of success ourselves our worldwide appeal and fanbase would rise considerably.

As it stands we cannot compete financially with anyone. At least this way there would only be a few clubs who are bigger.

Mike Allison
34   Posted 04/12/2009 at 19:03:51

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There’s a straightforward model for the future that makes sense for live attendance and TV viewers. You sell all, most or a significant number of a club’s games on TV, allow people to buy that season ticket, and accept that that’s where the club revenue comes from. You don’t need to charge 35,000 people £32 if you’re charging 300,000 people £10.

The only problem comes from the greed of trying to keep live match tickets so expensive as well as raking in TV money.
Ciarán McGlone
35   Posted 04/12/2009 at 20:03:16

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Neither Man U tv nor Chelsea tv show any live Premier League matches...

As for foreign rights... as far as I’m aware they are sold as batches in each country... to the highest bidder. The only Sky company I’ve come across broadcasting Premier League in Europe is Sky Italia but there is rumours that Murdoch has fingers in broadcasting pies all over the continent. In fact, he was able to get an the albanian channels to stop broadcasting 3 o'clock games on the eve of last season, so that’s believable...
Dave Wilson
36   Posted 04/12/2009 at 20:23:29

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You’ve obviously looked into this, but I still don't get it.
Every time I have a pint after the game, I seem to meet somebody who hasnt been to a game but has been able to watch it, often in pubs near County Rd,

How does that work?
Ciarán McGlone
37   Posted 04/12/2009 at 20:47:54

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Most pubs will still use the kind of subscriptions I’ve been talking about... because the law is still slightly grey, and they’re willing risk it because the subcriptions are a hell of a lot cheaper than the £10k a season that Sky charge... and you obviously get a hell of a lot more football because of the multi channel format and lack of restrictions on 3 o'clock Saturday football...

I’ve been doing it for about 6 years now... no substitute for getting to Goodison, but at least I get to watch the game every week...
Roger Domal
38   Posted 04/12/2009 at 22:02:32

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In the US of A, I have yet to miss a match this season including all of the European matches. We might not always be on live but maybe a couple of hours later. .. Spurs will be on Sunday morning at 11. I pay a monthly cable bill of around 90 dollars and an extra 13 a month for Setanta. If I want to I can watch every single Prem match every weekend. All the European matches and FA and League Cup.
Dave Wilson
39   Posted 04/12/2009 at 21:36:13

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Like you say there is no substitute for getting to GP, but fair play to you for finding another way to ensure see your team in action
James I'Anson
40   Posted 04/12/2009 at 22:30:46

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It seems that our overseas fans get to see all of the games anyway although this is only because the Premier League and Sky allow it by selling the rights.

Basically, when I left Liverpool I should have moved further away rather than to Scotland. Typical.

Chris Briddon
41   Posted 11/12/2009 at 12:30:43

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The problem has always been the attempt to look after the smaller clubs.
The reason you don’t sell rights individually, but as a Premier League collectively is because the likes of Man Utd & Liverpool would be able to charge much more than we could so the gap would get even wider (see Spain where this already happens).

Secondly, if they show games at 3pm on Saturdays, a significant level of supporters would watch INSTEAD of going to games — and we are not talking about games at Old Trafford or Anfield, who could afford it, but the likes of League One & League Two sides where a drop of a few hundred or more of the attendance would make a big difference.

The way it works at present allows people to go to the lower league game, and then still be able to watch the Prem afterwards.

Sky Moneys are divided up over a number of criteria.

1 - Everybody gets an even split of 1 pot

2 - you get paid so much extra every time you are shown

3 - at the end of the season Prize money is paid out at something like £2m a place starting from about £20m at the bottom upwards.

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