According to the latest report, the Premier League Pay-Per-View (PPV) has averaged 39,000 domestic viewers since being introduced after the October International break.
Although, the figure doesn’t include viewings from the fixture between Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion on October 26, the figure still stands much lower than previously expected.
The highly controversial broadcasting model is priced at £14.95 per-game, which has received huge criticism from fans across the country. Before the PPV model was introduced, matches not shown on pay-tv was broadcasted on free-to-air tv, including 3pm kick-offs. Considering the fact that fans are not allowed to attend live fixtures due to government restrictions because of the global pandemic, fans welcomed the fact they could continue to support their team from home watching games on free-to-air tv.
During the International break in mid-October, the Premier League announced that they would scrap the free-to-air games and replaced it with a PPV service with broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport. Charging fans to watch their team if they weren’t originally being shown on TV.
According to the viewing numbers reported, from the first nine games shown the Premier League have generated a revenue of £5.24 million (US$6.82 million). Reported that Sky and BT are being paid for the production but is still yet to be decided how the rest of the money is distributed.
The average amount of viewers reflects the average stadium attendance during a ‘normal’ Premier League season, as the average attendance for the 2018/19 season was 38,168. Yet, newly promoted teams, such as Leeds United, have larger stadium capacity helping the increase of PPV viewers for this season.
The report by the Daily Mail states that none of the games shown on PPV have created more than 90,000 viewers, as only two have exceeded 70,000. Whereas, three matches have only managed to cause less than 10,000 viewers.
The introduction of the PPV service has caused outrage from fans as the timing of the service is inconsiderate as it remains a challenging time for fans due to covid-19. Many supporters’ unions have donated the money they would have spent on the PPV service to local foodbanks to help those vulnerable in their local area, as the imposed restrictions of the government are taking their toll on communities around the country.
On the first weekend the PPV service was introduced, Newcastle United fans raised £19,000 for the West End food bank and most recently Liverpool and Everton fans have raised over £140,000 for the Fans Supporting Foodbanks. Who normally collect food donations on matchday at Anfield and Goodison Park.
The #BoycottPPV has also trended across social media sites as fans unite as they believe they are being exploited by the Premier League.
Considering the amount of backlash and criticism the Premier League have received, the PPV service will continue to be used for the next two matchday weeks before the next International break.
A review of the service will then be conducted, but many fans would like the service to be scrapped. However, reported rumour that the cost may be reduced to £9.95 per game, while Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley, publicly announced the cost should be reduced to £4.95 until Christmas.
Author: James Parker