For matchgoing supporters, the price of season tickets can be up to £2,000 in London and still even several hundred at the cheapest end. Add to that cost the price of transport, which can be astronomical over the course of a season on its own, programmes, food and other expenses.
Most clubs will charge domestic cup and European games as extra on top of that. If you then also want to follow your clubs on the road, away tickets are capped at £30, but travel will obviously be more expensive, plus all the usual matchday costs.
It is not something you can do on the cheap, with even single matchdays for two people unlikely to cost less than £100, and actually likely to cost far more, all things considered.
Sometimes just ticket demand alone will rule people out of going to games.
That is why television should be able to offer an affordable alternative that still allows domestic fans to follow their team, or for neutrals to enjoy the entertainment of any live action they fancy.
The problem is, if you live in the UK, live Premier League football is not widely accessible or affordable on television compared to the rest of the world.
For starters, if you want to watch all the live Premier League football that is domestically available, you will automatically need at least three premium subscriptions, with the current broadcast rights shared between Sky Sports, BT Sport and now also Amazon Prime.
Sky are showing 128 live Premier League games this season, with 52 more on BT. Amazon, meanwhile, have got the rights to 20 live games spread over two matchdays in December.
To watch all of that, which will still not give you access to all of your team’s games, it costs an extortionate amount per month and per year.
The broadcasting giants are always pushing starter deals for new customers, but the bottom line is that Sky charges £30 per month for its complete sports package at full price, or £27 if you want just the Sky Sports Premier League channel and one other Sky Sports channel.
But that is not the only price to pay because you must already have Sky TV to begin with, which is priced at £27 outside of the minimum contract period.
It is also possible to get Sky Sports via Sky subsidiary NOW TV. There is no contract or obligation, but that is £33.99 per month, with no minimum subscription requirements, or a less eye watering £25 when using one-month NOW TV cards available from certain retailers.
But customers get stung because of the extra games on different broadcasters. If you have Sky TV and want to watch live Premier League games on BT Sport it will cost £29.99 per month for the privilege, plus a £20 up-front fee if you agree to a 12-month contract, or £35 up-front if not.
If you want to watch BT Sport on Sky in HD, that’s £6.50 extra each month.
With BT TV, you’ll pay a minimum of £47.99 per month outside an initial contract for a package that includes BT Sport, which is wrapped up in a broadband subscription, plus an up-front cost. It’s still £6.50 extra for BT HD. While, for BT customers, Sky Sports is ‘from £30 per month’.
For the Amazon games this month, the Prime service may need to only cost you as little as £7.99 as a one-off, but it is still another cost to factor into watching live Premier League games when you may already be shelling out rather a lot to have both Sky Sports and BT Sport.
Put it this way, if you’re in the UK and want to watch all the live Premier League football that is legally available to you, you could be looking at a monthly cost of close to £100, plus one month of Amazon Prime. Over one year, that is conservative estimate of £1,000.
The enormous prices are why so many people are venting their frustration with the likes of Sky and BT, while thousands are turning to illegal streams, which is costing the Premier League money.
So why does the Premier League not take its broadcasting into its own hands, cut out the middle men and provide a vastly more affordable product straight to the customer? A Netflix-style subscription model that has already been proven successful for the NFL and WWE.
Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan spoke about such a possibility this week during a radio appearance on talkSPORT, but it is an idea that has been floating around for a while.
Imagine if the Premier League charged £10 per month for a streaming service that provides access to all live games, subscribed to by 50 million fans globally (0.7% of the world’s population). That would be an annual revenue of £6bn, or £18bn over the course of a typical broadcasting contract to directly compare it to the current model of selling rights to broadcasters.
The most recently agreed Premier League TV deal for the 2019-2022 period saw five of seven available packages sell for a total of £4.5bn. International broadcast rights brought in an additional £4.35bn, specifically accounting for 46% of revenue. It is still seems far less than the Premier League could bring in were they to build a streaming service à la Netflix or Disney+.
The Saturday 3pm blackout could cause an issue in making that available to a UK audience, but that measure is arguably outdated. It was created to protect attendances, but the population is now far larger and it fails to understand that loyal matchgoers won’t simply disappear.
Many international fans can already get all the Premier League action at affordable prices, but the Premier League owes it to football fans from its own shores to make it infinitely more accessible and affordable than it currently is.
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