This weekend saw the introduction of the Premier League’s Pay-Per-View (PPV) matches.
Even before being put into action, the move was seen as highly controversial. This was largely due to the price. To view one of these otherwise non-televised games, fans have to pay Sky Sports Box Office or BT Sport the hefty fee of £14.95. This is a figure that was suggested by the league, rather than the broadcasters – and Sky and BT don’t stand to profit from these matches.
However, after the weekend, the Premier League is under increased pressure to abandon the arrangement, or at least the price. This is after a large number of fans boycotted the first round of games. Supporters’ groups of Manchester United and Newcastle, who faced each other on Sunday night on Sky Sports Box Office, revealed many of their fans had donated £14.95 to local foodbanks instead of paying that figure to watch their teams play.
There are hopes that the Premier League will at least review the current price point or offer discount in the form of digital season ticket system. This may even help to tackle a longer-term issue for the Premier League; piracy.
While the PPV model can work for high-profile boxing or MMA fights, it’s difficult to position a Premier League game in the same way, given the monotony of fixtures. Unlike other businesses, the Premier League is lucky to have such loyal customers (fans) and be able to engage on such a regular basis. Now is the time to give, not take.