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Premier League clubs consider charging fans for non-televised games

Premier League clubs are looking at ways to stream games that will not be televised by domestic broadcasters, as a solution to recovering from lost revenue.

The initial plans of seeing a phased return of spectators to games were put on hold this week after the government brought in new measures to curb the rise of Covid-19 cases across the country, leading to England’s top flight league to consider ways of making up the lost revenue from match-days.

One of the options being considered, is for games to be streamed via club websites that would charge fans to watch, whilst season ticket holders would be given access for free, according to The Times.

There have been calls in recent years for Premier League games that are not usually televised during a 3:00pm kick-off, to be broadcasted in some capacity. Currently, this service is only offered to international audiences.

All September fixtures were made available to UK audiences after successful campaigning from fans convinced the league to do so. Upon the announcement made by the government this week, the Premier League confirmed that matches on October 3 and October 4 will all be televised, with Sky Sports showing six games and BT Sport showing four.

According to reports however, clubs are hesitant to show all of the fixtures as was seen last season during ‘Project Restart’, with fears over the devaluation of its broadcast partners’ paid rights, which has reportedly already caused upset amongst Asian broadcasters.

The Financial Times reported earlier this month that Premier League clubs could face a shortfall of £540 million in lost match-day revenue, therefore highlighting the importance of finding an answer to their questions regarding a financially stable future, which could continue to ensue with any resurgence of the virus.

The English Football League (EFL) have already secured a deal, agreed in August, that would allow season ticket holders to stream home league matches, except in the Championship, which also allowed season ticket holders to watch midweek away matches. It was hoped that it would potentially help offset some of the heavy losses that would incur from lost match-day revenue but the EFL is requesting a £200 million rescue package, which the UK government has said that it expects the Premier League to provide this financial assistance.

This weekend’s fixtures (October 3 and 4) will be followed on by an international break, allowing the league time plan ahead on any more future restrictions that could mean fans are unable to attend matches until 2021.

Author: Jake Wilkin