20th November 2015
We know our customers love football. That’s why Virgin Media is proud to be the only TV provider to offer all the available live games through one subscription.
But UK football fans are getting a raw deal. They pay at least twice as much to watch half the games as fans in the rest of Europe.
Want to watch Chelsea v Norwich, Manchester United v West Ham, or Manchester City v Southampton live on TV in the next few weeks? Then forget it.
This season there will be 380 Premier League games played but only 154 will be available to watch live on TV, denying many loyal fans the opportunity of seeing top-flight games on the small screen.
But don’t just take my word for it: Research among more than 1,000 football fans commissioned by Virgin Media reveals that more than three quarters believe that they pay too much to watch live football. What’s more, just 6% of fans say they are able to watch every live match they want to on TV at home.
Put simply, football is fast becoming out of reach for fans in the very country which gave the world the beautiful game.
The problem is the way the Premier League sells the TV rights exclusively, most recently to Sky and BT.
Normally, when competitors go head-to-head, consumers benefit. But the outcome is different when it comes to football.
The Premier League exempts itself from competition law and doesn’t allow all the live football games to be broadcast on TV. And the price of the TV rights skyrocket.
In the US, meanwhile, all 380 games are available to watch. This means that UK football fans living in the States can enjoy more live Premier League football on TV than those in the UK.
Take a look at the numbers: Since the first deal in 1992 the value of the Premier League TV rights has risen more than 4,000%. Look at it another way: In 2006, £1.7bn bought three seasons of live football for fans to watch. Earlier this year, Sky and BT signed up to pay £1.7bn for just one year’s worth of football on TV.
How does this affect fans? Because of the way the Premier League auctions the rights, TV customers ultimately pay through higher prices.
This is simply not right. That's why we have asked media watchdog Ofcom to investigate the way the Premier League auctions exclusive rights to broadcast live football on TV.
At Virgin Media we are convinced there has to be a better way for football. Join us in demanding #MoreBalls from the Premier League.