Football fans have reacted furiously to the Premier League’s newly-announced plans to charge £14.95 to watch games that aren’t part of the normal television schedule.
For the last few months, broadcasters like Sky Sports and BT Sport have been showing every Premier League game due to fans being barred from stadiums as a result of continuing coronavirus restrictions.
However, that changes when fixtures resume next weekend, following the current international break. Five of the 10 games will be placed behind a new paywall and only available via the BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office platforms.
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The new arrangement will be in place until at least the end of October, but it seems this will be the new normal until the fans are allowed back into stadiums once again – which seems unlikely before the end of this year.
Fans and journalists have responded with outrage over the perceived greed that’s likely to push supporters back towards illegitimate IPTV streams, or the use of VPNs to access foreign coverage. Indeed, at the time of writing, IPTV is trending on Twitter.
Here’s some of the reaction from leading figures and fans’ groups inside game, many of them calling on the Premier League to reconsider:
Reports suggest Leicester City were the only club to vote against the proposals, while it is believed Manchester United pushed for free access for clubs’ season ticket holders. Both were outnumbered.
The pay-per-view option arrives with many fans struggling to make ends meet and with the Premier League facing a shortfall in match day income. Those same clubs just spent over £1 billion in during the summer transfer window.
Until now, if fans subscribed to BT Sport and Sky Sports they were able to watch all games from each round of fixtures. Now, that will cost fans an extra £75 per weekend.
While BT and Sky Sports are copping plenty of flack for this on social media, it doesn’t appear to be advantageous to them at all. All proceeds are set to go to clubs to make up for the income deficit. Apparently, BT and Sky won’t make any money from this and it probably would have been far more beneficial for the broadcasters to continue showing all games to subscribers for no extra cost.