The Premier League have announced a new pay-per-view plan for non televised games to help clubs generate some sort of match-day income during this pandemic.
Announced on Friday, the Premier League revealed that in partnership with Sky Sports and BT Sports that any game not initially picked for television coverage as part of the rights purchased by the service providers will no longer be available for free. Instead fans will have to pay £14.95 to watch each individual game on a pay-per-view basis, with all income going to the clubs.
While the premise is thoughtful, it’s a stupidly greedy and insensitive way of punishing fans who aren’t able to attend games through no fault of their own.
Fans are already forced to pay out an extortionate amount of money monthly to subscribe to these channels in order to watch games they have no control over either. Now they’re being asked to shell out around £15 most weekends to be able to watch their team, on top of that.
It’s not a very well thought out plan. Firstly, it’s common knowledge that the ‘Top 6’ sides are selected for TV coverage far more often than the other teams in the league. That means fans of teams such as Burnley, West Brom and Brighton will have to pay out the £15 more often than the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
The Premier League have completely missed the boat here too. This would be the perfect time for them to launch their own streaming service, similar to Netflix, where any games not on the current contract for TV rights get shown for a fee of £20 a month. Not only would fans of Premier League clubs happily pay that, but they would also earn millions from foreign fans all over the world who just want to keep up with the league.
Once the contracts with the television companies expire in 2022 they can make a decision on upping the subscription fee to include all games, which again fans would happily pay for since everything would be in one place, or they can continue with the original model.
For now though, they expect fans to fork out in the middle of a global pandemic when jobs are under threat and football isn’t a priority to please television companies.
It’s greed and disgusting in all honesty. Don’t be shocked to see a U-turn in the near future because of the backlash they’ve received for this decision. As it stands, it will happen from next weekend so I’d suggest going to look for your favourite stream websites from now.