More than a third of Premier League football fans say they regularly watch matches live online via unofficial streams, according to a recent BBC survey. The poll suggests younger adults are most likely to say they stream matches via unauthorised providers. Nearly a quarter of all fans surveyed regularly watch matches online via special technology, such as Kodi boxes.
In March, a High Court judge granted an order for the UK’s four biggest internet service providers to block access to online servers with football streams, making it harder for pirates to switch streams when they are shut down.
Last season saw the biggest drop in live Premier League TV viewing figures for seven years, hitting both Sky and BT. Sky saw a 14% drop, while viewing of BT channels dropped by 2%.
Sky is scrapping its numbered sports channels and replacing them with themed offerings focused on specific sports – led by football, golf and cricket – as it combats falling viewer numbers with a branding revamp and a cheaper viewing package.
The retirement of Sky Sports 1,2,3,4 and 5 and the introduction of a new package two-thirds cheaper than current prices represents a major shakeup of the strategy of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky a pay-TV powerhouse.
The new offering will result in the launch of themed channels, like Sky’s existing dedicated Formula One channel, for its top-flight sports including football – which will get two channels – golf and cricket. A new channel, Sky Sports Arena, will host other content including rugby and tennis.
In reality, the Premier League and Sky are fighting a losing battle with the illegal streamers which will only end one way.
The music industry took on the pirates and lost. Out of it came legal Itunes and Spotify. The film industry too tried to stop the pirates and out of the battle came Netflix and Amazon. The Premier League and clubs will soon have to accept that a legal way needs to found to stream all Premier League games to supporters in the UK and worldwide.
In the future, Premier League club themselves may sell their TV rights direct to supporters on legal streaming platforms either in a pay per view model or a season ticket for all games home and away.
Any club, whether PL or not, could increase revenue vastly by enabling fans to stream individual games on a PAYG or season ticket basis. As long as prices remain competitive for doing so, and also for attending games in person, I can’t see how they can lose. Sky pays clubs an exorbitant amount to fall in line, denying those who cannot afford (or see value in paying) nearly £50 for a package that includes sports most of us aren’t interested in. This empire is going to crumble, and clubs have to be ready with a new platform that fills stadiums and allows supporters who can’t be there to watch it legally too. Winter is coming, Murdoch.
Thanks very much about telling me about Kodi boxes, I’d never heard of them – get in – kerching!
Well shiver me timbers.
Did not participate in this survey but would definitely fall in that 1/3…
There is an issue with the actual survey results though as they do not factor in pirating in situations where there are no other options.
Let me give you an example. SKY/BT owns the rights.
They do not air the 15.00 games on Saturdays
Other countries do air these games (at least 1 of them depending on country).
I pirate and watch a game streamed from another country here in the UK.
Would I have done that if there were any options to see the game legally? Probably not…
It is an exclusivity empire created that has worked in the past. Great examples with music industry and movie industry as the movement is clearly relevant.
Allowing to shut down sites streaming football has absolutely no effect as they pop up faster than they can be closed down.
The app I use you can watch pretty much every sports channel you like in Europe, Asia & USA, doesn’t worry me that it’s different language. Sky & BT prices keep going up & there is no way I’m paying even more to watch CL or EL when I don’t have to. When Sky lost european football they didn’t lower the price but getting less. I know there are more PL games but I really don’t want to watch games like Huddesfield v Watford