There is widespread anger at plans to charge football fans in the UK £14.95 to watch Premier League matches they have been prevented from attending in person.
Fans have reacted angrily after it was confirmed on Friday that 19 out of 20 Premier League clubs voted to ditch the scheme that was in place for the final nine matches of last season and the first four of the current one, where matches not already included in broadcasters domestic schedules were provided free or on existing paid subscription channels.
Instead, fixtures not already chosen for live coverage will be available for fans on a pay-per-view basis at a cost of £14.95 per match.
As it could be another six months before fans can safely return to stadiums, they will now likely have to pay between £150 and £300 or more over the course of the season to legally watch games live, depending on how many games are selected by Sky, BT and Amazon.
There is also a significant risk that the high cost will encourage fans to club together and watch games in groups, thus risking the transmission of infection in any case. It will also encourage fans to seek illegal streams to avoid payment.
Reader Comments (37)
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1 Posted 09/10/2020 at 18:13:09
2 Posted 11/10/2020 at 10:57:32
It's stating the obvious saying a lower fee of £5.99 would be much more reasonable, but I wonder if they even care that much about price flexibility or hitting some preconceived income target?
Again, obviously for the clubs, this potentially supplements the income lost from not having fans at the games, and from that perspective, £14.95 must be only a fraction of what the average fan would pay to attend the games. But, considering the much larger potential audience is no longer limited by ground capacity, the income per club could go a long way to (or beyond!) making up the current shortfall.
And if the Premier League clubs are doing something to support the much more vulnerable EFL clubs, than perhaps we can think of it as doing our part to support and maintain not just the club we love but also the less fortunate ones further down the pyramid.
The disparity comes in the frequency that lesser clubs are featured in the selected live games: the fans of these clubs will end up paying more than the richer but more popular clubs... so in that sense it may even up the current income disparities across the Premier League. (I'm assuming that the bulk of the individual match fee is split between the competing clubs – is that the case?)
Everton fans with subscriptions have been 'lucky' so far with all games through next weekend picked by Sky, BT or Amazon for live coverage, Part of this may be down to us currently riding high at the top of the Premier League, and maybe we will benefit from that popularity going forward?
3 Posted 11/10/2020 at 11:31:31
4 Posted 11/10/2020 at 12:00:11
But it does smell of the EPL looking after itself and sod the other leagues and sod the fans.
5 Posted 11/10/2020 at 13:05:43
6 Posted 11/10/2020 at 13:14:21
I don't have any sort of subscription and don't intend to start so I'll continue listening to games on the radio (or hook up to any pirate feeds available).
7 Posted 11/10/2020 at 13:19:37
8 Posted 11/10/2020 at 13:34:58
The problem comes when clubs are still charging retainers / deposits for season tickets - or are being slow to reimburse season ticket holders when the money saved on a season ticket should cover the cost of these matches.
9 Posted 11/10/2020 at 13:50:55
I don't think any amount of protest or anger from fans will cause the broadcast companies any loss of sleep. The only thing that will cause them to re-adjust, is when fans vote with their money.
10 Posted 11/10/2020 at 14:14:51
However £15 is a bit steep for one person but you could invite one or two mates round and split the cost. Or maybe Sky are just testing the water and will eventually put every game on PPV.
11 Posted 11/10/2020 at 14:21:35
Not to mention as the season progresses and it becomes obvious your club isn't going anywhere beyond midtable fans won't even pay to see their own club either. The law of diminishing returns. Spend £15 quid on a dead rubber or spend it on something useful.
12 Posted 11/10/2020 at 14:28:59
Additional matches that are charged could be targeted to get bigger audiences. Your super Sunday match instead of being Everton v Arsenal will be West Ham v Sheffield United. Forcing more popular clubs fans to pay for their matches.
This is where the thin end of the wedge is, once clubs find out who people will pay to watch this forms a solid base to show only those matches, then form a super league with the 12 most popular teams. Or once its clear who fans will pay to watch those clubs leverage that against the TV money and logical say they deserve a bigger cut, cementing their status at the top.
Its starts to look like a franchise style league with a closed shop entry.
We best hurry up and win the league this year because its going all to pot.
13 Posted 11/10/2020 at 15:29:53
Additional matches that are charged could be targeted to get bigger audiences. Your Super Sunday match, instead of being Everton vs Arsenal will be West Ham vs Sheffield United. Forcing more popular clubs fans to pay for their matches.
This is where the thin end of the wedge is, once clubs find out who people will pay to watch this forms a solid base to show only those matches, then form a super league with the 12 most popular teams. Or once it's clear who fans will pay to watch, those clubs leverage that against the TV money and logical say they deserve a bigger cut, cementing their status at the top.
It's starting to look like a franchise-style league with a closed shop entry.
We best hurry up and win the league this season because it's going all to pot.
14 Posted 11/10/2020 at 16:43:33
The health issues it will cause with Covid spreading would be catastrophic. Shame on you EPL.
15 Posted 11/10/2020 at 16:49:56
16 Posted 11/10/2020 at 19:38:37
It's a blatant power grab that's being presented now because they know many EFL clubs are desperate for money.
Until shortly before the advent of the Premier League, football was much fairer and structured so smaller clubs benefited, financially, from playing big clubs away from home in that they got 25% of League gate receipts and 33% in the earlier rounds of the FA Cup
Now a much bigger proportion of the cash comes from the likes of Sky and the so called 'big clubs' have always been trying to grab a larger slice of that.
I'm not in the least surprised that these proposals have been floated by two clubs which are virtually little more than American franchises and whose owners have little, or no, concept of the strong community identity most of our clubs have.
17 Posted 11/10/2020 at 22:17:51
I pay $14.99 per month through iTunes for my subscription. That's about £8.25 at the current exchange rate.
I can watch any Pemier League game on demand (which I think means live) and most of them as recordings.
I watch the games on an iPad (which is far better than I thought it would be) but I think you can also get it through a Fetch TV box.
18 Posted 12/10/2020 at 07:49:04
19 Posted 12/10/2020 at 08:07:09
1) The non-televised games would not normally be televised at all.
2) Ergo, the only way to watch them would have been to go the game.
3) The price of watching them on PPV is much cheaper than going the game (albeit no substitute at all really). 50% of my season ticket refund will pay for every game, and the other 50% can go to EitC.
Not sure what the issue is?
20 Posted 12/10/2020 at 08:37:27
Suits me because I refuse to get Sky. But galling for those who shell out on Sky to have to pay yet more just to watch footie on TV.
21 Posted 12/10/2020 at 09:04:28
As a blue who lives in London and struggles to get to more than a couple of live games each season, I've long advocated the opportunity for a pay-per-view option.
I think the price is a bit high – then again, I can't believe the price of a pint in a pub these days (£5+ down here!). In the late 1970s you could get 4 pints of Higsons in the Childwall 5 Ways – and get change from a pound note!
22 Posted 12/10/2020 at 11:24:03
What you have with this is nothing more than 'cash at the gate', 2020 internet style.
Check in your record books, look at attendances. Get knocked out of a cup, draw a couple... the weekend before Christmas was noted for a drop in attendances, even bad weather, attendances drop... where's your £14.95s then?
As said before, people vote with their wallet. I hope it comes back to bite the instigators in the bum good style... Time will tell.
23 Posted 12/10/2020 at 11:27:54
You can't compare to a cinema ticket, as going the cinema is a greater experience. Also involved in the fee is the cost of running, ie, staff. If you want to compare, compare to the average film rental on Amazon or such, usually about £5.
Can't compare to 'premium' one-off events like Boxing because, well football is every week, not a one-off event.
At £15 a match, people will go to pirate streams.
Just like years ago, everyone would download films and series instead of paying for Sky's premium packages and pay-per-views. As soon as reasonable priced alternatives came, people stopped illegal downloads.
24 Posted 12/10/2020 at 12:21:19
Fran @ 26 seems to be the lowest at £5-6. That is more than double what I pay each week (see my post @ 17) to be able to watch a game live and most of the other Premier League games on a recording.
In addition to that, I can watch Uefa games and internationals. This got me thinking that perhaps Optus were “too cheap”. But saying that about any huge telecommunications organisation is an oxymoron, isn't it?
So I decided to dig a bit deeper and discovered that, as of August last year, their subscriptions for this service had risen to 700,000!
That is round about AUD$10.5 million per month or AUD$126 Million (£70 million) per year.
The big benefit for Optus appears to be that it helps them retain their mobile phone and internet subscriptions – customer retention.
He probably doesn't have to worry too much about customer retention but I'm sure the owner of the telecommunications company MegaFon, which has 62 million subscribers in Russia, would be interested to know about this... but, then again, he probably already does.
25 Posted 12/10/2020 at 13:02:17
As a London-based blue, the only PL games I can get to are those where I can wangle an invite. Virtually all PL games sell out so non-season ticket holders face quite a challenge seeing a PL game live.
Having Sky Sport wouldnt help as my interest lies in watching Everton games - not multiple Man U and RS games.
My brother - who lives in Colombia - can watch all Everton games live for a modest fee. It seems archaic that us here in the UK have such little choice.
26 Posted 12/10/2020 at 13:24:31
27 Posted 12/10/2020 at 13:48:23
The fee I pay is $I50 a year that works out to about $12/ 50 a month or $3 dollars a week. ( not sure of the exchange rate ).
This APP can be purchased for $20 a month and can be cancelled at any time.
The fee that Skye are asking for is supposed to assist the clubs who are loosing monies from the virus. As Dazn already have an agreement with the premier I am hoping nothing changes, but understanding the way Skye Sports operate this is just another way for them not to loose money.
28 Posted 12/10/2020 at 16:23:57
29 Posted 12/10/2020 at 16:58:44
30 Posted 12/10/2020 at 17:04:37
31 Posted 12/10/2020 at 17:30:43
No policing costs, no stadiums to maintain. No travel no merchandise.
Thats as creditable as "the big 6" proposals. How about the big 6 should be the longest serving teams in the top division. So EFC, Arsenal there I say it Villa. You get my drift... really can't be bothered with the more gets more approach from the RS and Manure
32 Posted 12/10/2020 at 18:37:00
They believe it will go some way to making up for lost gate receipts. How Im not sure. The Esk reckons Evertons match day spend is £17, Liverpool and United three/four times as much, Chelsea Arsenal five/six times and fledgling figures for Spurs even more.
How long before Everton TV offers a digital subscription for all are games?
Does anyone want to even watch others teams anymore? I watch my hockey team on their own network, occasionally watch others, and do watch the playoffs.
But in Franchise system, money, wages and player distribution is roughly equal and limits commercial advantage.
The problem is if we all have our own TV station without broadcasting revenue divided equally we just end up the rich and the poor, no competition and a shot product.
33 Posted 13/10/2020 at 10:05:22
I just think £15 will drive alot of people to go to pirate sites. It instinctively seems too much to me. Personally I don't see myself paying that except for one or two premium games perhaps.
But I know the people who set the price will have done alot of research on what people are prepared to pay. The proof will be in the pudding I suppose.
34 Posted 14/10/2020 at 18:43:51
35 Posted 15/10/2020 at 22:04:39
It also has some NBA games on there, the nationwide games I think, the NFL, Formula One, some cricket. It's pretty good value for me because I'm not just watching the footy.
I've friends in Australia and the EPL is on a separate streaming service there. It's shit, you get the EPL and the so-called Champions League and that's it. But even that's only £8 a month, for all games live and on demand.
What fans in the UK are gouged for is utterly ridiculous and reprehensible in my opinion. I'm saddened that the fans haven't pushed back more against the legalized theft they endure just to follow the club they love.
It's probably too late really now - the recent NetFlix / HBO / Apple / Disney+ streaming war is just following the same pattern that Sky, BT and Amazon have conjured up to rip off football fans. Once upon a time you subscribed to a service, paid your monthly subs and had it all in the one place.
The media companies seem to be under a delusion that we'll subscribe to three, four or more services. have less content and shell out more money. In the truly long term, probably not sustainable.
A young lad I work with pays NZ$20 a month to some dodgy internet pirates, but in return he gets something like 5000 channels streamed live from around the world. I'm not interested in the Polish weather channel, nor am I particularly thrilled by the idea of paying genuine crooks any of my money.
I've declined his kind offer to send me a link so I can avail myself of the same service for those reasons. But I wouldn't blame anyone who did sign up for such a service. When the legitimate route is by many magnitudes more expensive and no better in visual or sound quality why wouldn't you?
It's long been predicted that football will eat itself. My surprise is that it hasn't already done so.
36 Posted 18/10/2020 at 13:05:00
37 Posted 19/10/2020 at 20:54:15
Hope a lot more teams go down this route and donate elsewhere instead of the money going to them who do not need it.
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