The Premier League has agreed a deal to air all games for the remainder of October. Sky Sports and BT Sport will broadcast matches on their new box office services. However, it will cost fans to avail of the privilege regardless of whether they have an existing subscription or not.
Pay-per-view replaces live fans
The Premier League made the move because of the ongoing absence of fans from matchdays. Under the new agreement, the current games scheduled for television won’t be affected. But, the other five games not selected for broadcast are now available on pay-per-view. Unfortunately, £14.95 is the cost per game.
For now, the Premier League has called it an “interim decision”. An official statement read that “all fixtures until the end of October will continue to be made available to fans to watch live in the UK.” However, the service will likely extend into November and December if government guidelines continue to prevent fans from attending games.
When the Premier League resumed in June, all games were made available to watch. In fact, they were even on free-to-air channels such as BBC on occasion. This agitated the League officials who were effectively giving away their product for free. In spite of this, they will not receive any of the profits from subscriptions to the pay-per-view games. Instead, the clubs split the income between them to compensate for the lack of matchday ticket sales.
The move will undoubtedly anger many fans who already have several subscriptions to TV stations just to watch their team. Even these subscribers will have to pay the new pay-per-view cost. Furthermore, there is yet to be any compensation for season ticket holders who have paid for the 2020-21 season. These fans face the prospect of not being able to attend any games and instead paying even more to watch from home.
The decision has already faced backlash. For example, Sky Sports’ own Gary Neville has spoken out against it. Neville wrote: “This is a really bad move by the Premier League to charge £14.95 for single matches that have been shown free for 6 months!”.
The Premier League has announced that all non-televised fixtures until the end of October will now be made available live on pay-per-view in the UK.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 9, 2020
Fans Growing Costs
Currently, subscribing to Sky Sports as a new customer wanting to avail of their Premier League games draws a fee of €45 for 6 months followed by €65 for another 6 months. In addition to this, Racing TV, which broadcasts all 26 Irish race tracks as well as UK meetings, costs Irish customers a further €31 a month.
On the other hand, Irish customers can purchase BT Sports at €17 per month for the first six months and €34 thereafter.
For Irish rugby fans, a subscription to Eir Sport is necessary for Pro14 fixtures. This comes at a cost of €4.99 for the first month and €29.99 thereafter.
As a result, a Leinster Rugby fan who supports Man United and watches Irish Racing would need subscriptions to Eir Sport (Pro14), Sky Sports (Premier League and Sky Sports Racing), BT Sport (Champions Cup and Premier League), and Racing UK (Irish horse racing).
If such a fan signed up today to such an extensive TV package, they would spend €1,672.88 in the next 12 months.
This is without considering subscriptions to Amazon Prime who have the rights for most of the upcoming Autumn Nations Rugby tournament. Likewise, Premier Sports for school’s rugby games and Virgin Media Sports for Champions League and Europa League games.
Of course, there are other packages available. New customers can sign up to Sky Sports Extra for access to Premier Sports, Sky Sports and BT Sport all in one place. Currently, that will cost a new customer €780 annually.
But, that does not exempt one from the new £14.95 charge imposed on the incoming pay-per-view games. In fact, Man United and Chelsea fans suffer first as their next Premier League games will be pay-per-view ties.
Either way, fans are suffering instead of benefitting from the vast amount of stations broadcasting their favourite sports.