The cameras have loved Newcastle United this season, 18 of the first 45 matches (the last day of the season’s live TV games are decided last minute) have been scheduled for live broadcast, six at home and 12 away, as Sky Sports hope for the odd upset.
In the 14 that have been played so far, Newcastle have won eight, drawn two and lost four, so the broadcaster has had its pound of black and white flesh already.
Apart from the official live TV games, only a small handful of Newcastle’s Championship matches have been able to be accessed by fans who aren’t at the actual game.
Heading hopefully back into the Premier League, many thousands of Newcastle fans will be looking forward to the potential of once again being able to watch pretty much every league game without stepping inside St James Park.
However, with falling TV viewing figures, the Premier League has been forced into its biggest ever crackdown on illegal streaming of games.
The prevalence of the use of ‘Kodi boxes’ is an ever growing threat, especially with most Premier League clubs relying for most of their income from TV rights.
For the first time the High Court has decided to allow ISPs – including the UK’s four biggest providers BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media – the right to prevent access not just to individual streams but to the servers that host them.
In the past, when one stream or a single site had been blocked, pirates have simply reposted the content on another server.
This last weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures was the second one in which the ruling has had a chance to be applied.
There is a perception by many that the Premier League will continue to receive ever higher amounts of money from the TV deals but if the use of the ‘Kodi boxes’ continues to grow at the rate it currently is, there could well be a big black hole in the revenue streams for the likes of BT and Sky.
The next TV deal (to start with the 2019/20 season) is set for negotiations as early as next year, so time is running out for the Premier League to reassure the broadcasters that they are successfully dealing with the piracy issue.
The technological age has had the upper hand so far but have the Premier League now found the right formula at last to be fighting back?