Return of the Premier League: A watershed moment

Aston Villa are set to kick off the resumption of the Premier League tomorrow evening. However, it will not be football as we know it. Plenty of creative changes have been proposed and some have the potential to leave a lasting impact.Here are a few;   

Firstly, English football fans have the opportunity to watch every game. Back in April, UEFA announced it had accepted the Premier League’s request to suspend the 3pm blackout rule. This rule is intended to protect participation of grass roots football as well as gate receipts. Given the current situation, a suspension makes total sense. However, it could have a significant long-term impact on the future of football broadcasting.

Secondly, many of the remaining games will be available on free-to-air TV or on non-paywalled versions of subscription channels. For the first time ever, the BBC will broadcast live Premier League football. Sky Sports has agreed to show 25 of its matches on free-to-air and Amazon Prime has followed suit, also making its games available for free. 

The increased accessibility of Premier League matches could signal a long-term shift in consumption habits of English football fans. A recent study from Rakuten found 42% of UK consumers are missing out on sport content due to cost. Furthermore, another study reported by SportsProMedia found 51% of sports fans still use pirate services to watch live sport on a monthly basis.

The creation of this new ‘normal’ has the potential to change consumer expectations on sports broadcasting for good. 

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