Fans deserve better than pay-per-view football matches – Labour Article
The Premier League (PL) have announced their plans to introduce a pay-per-view (PPV) system for football matches not included on the broadcast schedule. Following a vote involving all 20 clubs, only Leicester City rejected this move.
The worst part of all of this, however, is that this box office service will cost £14.95 per match. This means that a fan who wants to watch all of the upcoming fixtures scheduled for PPV until 2 November will have to pay nearly £225. Football should not be this inaccessible for the people right at its centre.
Football fans are already being charged enough to watch matches. As it stands, Sky Sport’s cheapest package is £18 per month, BT Sport’s cheapest package is £15 per month, and Amazon Prime is another £7.99 per month. This adds up to £491.88 per year and you won’t even be able to watch all of the PL games, only those selected for broadcast. To make matters worse, some fans have already paid for season tickets which they are now unable to use.
Not only will this move take advantage of millions of its fans, but in some cases, it will completely price people out of being able to watch altogether. It is a great shame that devoted fans are being charged even more at a time when money is so tight.
Beyond all of this, I’m struggling to see how PL clubs are even justifying this move. These clubs spent a combined £1.2 billion during the transfer window. Whilst this has decreased compared to previous years, it is still an enormous amount of money, and only down 7% from the previous year. All of this follows redundancies and staff wage cuts across the PL over the summer.
Overall, it is a stark reminder that top-flight football in the UK is a cut-throat business that is centred around profits. At times, clubs have acted with decency such as Leicester voting against the PPV system and many clubs refusing to use the furlough scheme. But in the end, a number of PL clubs have made staff redundant, spent big in the transfer window, and then shifted the costs over to the consumer. How disappointing.
For the sake of fairness, I can somewhat understand a move towards PPV in order to provide income for clubs that are sorely missing out due to crowds not being allowed back, such as has been done in the EFL. I just think that £14.95 per match borders on extortionate. A lower price, perhaps in the region of £3, would make it far more accessible and would encourage greater participation.
I believe that it’s in the Premier League’s best interests to reverse this decision. Firstly, getting rid of this cost or, at the very least, making it cheaper will discourage illegal streaming. There’s also the fact that charging so much will only encourage people to go around to others’ houses to watch the football so they can share the cost. The whole point is to dissuade people from doing that.
There’s no doubt that this is a tough time for PL clubs, but it’s a tough time for everyone. Clubs in the EFL are struggling to a far greater extent, hence why they have implemented a similar scheme. The difference, however, is that many EFL clubs are on the brink of collapse whilst PL clubs have gone into the transfer market with a “business as usual” mentality. It shouldn’t be the fans who are taken advantage of as a result.
Written by Senior Labour Writer, Jack Rolfe
Point of Information
An embarrassment for the Premier League – A Conservative Response
Jack has written a great article here. Football is a luxury, a pastime that everyone can enjoy, from the top 1% right down to your average joe. It is being part of something bigger than yourselves.
Those Mondays when your day has been ruined because of the derby. That jubilation only to be swiftly replaced by sorrow the next weekend (if you are an Everton fan like me). We lost that enjoyment and passion due to Covid-19 taking the sport we love off our screens.
Now it’s not an externality that is affecting it, it is the sport itself. I commend the Foxes on being the only team to not conform and think of their fans first. Although I do appreciate that clubs have lost money due to Covid – EFL clubs and low-level premier league clubs may well require the revenue.
Ultimately, I do agree with Jack that a lower fee could be used. Supporters, if they truly love their team, will pay any amount. However, £14.95 is a bit steep, especially for lower-income fans.
I am embarrassed that some of the richest clubs in the League voted for it. Clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester City who hold the number one and two spots on the Premier League rich list. Clubs who have money from oil barons and businessmen, sometimes in the billions. They see this as a money grab. A chance for a quick buck. Quite frankly I am embarrassed, even of my own club.
Any lover of football should be proud to say they’re a member of the footballing community in our country. This decision, however, makes me ashamed. Unless, of course, you are a Leicester fan.
Written by Guest Conservative Writer, Thomas Fuller
A disgrace to football fans all over the UK – A Liberal Response
I think this might be one of the first articles in which all writers completely agree with each other. I feel there is not much I can add to Thomas and Jack’s article to be honest with you. But there is one important thing to note.
In the UK, it is one of the most expensive hobbies to be a football fan, and most would accept it is the price they have to pay to support their club and make sure they get great players. However, the price UK football fans pay just for tickets is outrageous and most know it. Most top 10 clubs charge over £100 per ticket for their worst seats.
However, in the Bundesliga, it costs just under £10 a game for a season ticket. Can you believe that? It is outrageous.
Therefore, I think it is time we start to actually take a German model seriously of football. Football teams are owned by the fans and must hold a 51% share of the club. This means the fans, the people who actually allow the club to succeed, support it through thick and thin, actually have a say and it starts by reducing the ridiculous rates the UK currently pays for football.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
I am a third-year student at the University of Exeter, studying BSc Politics and International Relations. After graduating in the summer of 2020, I will be completing an MSc in Applied Social Data Science. I will also be the Treasurer of the Politics Society, as well as of the Uni Boob Team for the 2020/2021 academic year.
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.