Last month it was revealed that the average viewing of Premier League matches on Sky Sports live TV games on their channels had fallen by 14% last season, the biggest decrease they have ever recorded.

Those figures look even worse when you consider that the latest TV deal which kicked in with the 2016/17 season, saw Sky Sports agree to pay two thirds more cash for the rights to cover the Premier League, working out at about £10m per game.

Sky Sports spent a total of £4.2bn to show 126 Premier League games per season up to and including 2018/19.

BT Sport paid £960m to show 42 games each of these three seasons and recorded a more modest fall of 2% fall in average viewing.

The Financial Times also revealed that broadcasters had admitted losing Newcastle United was a big blow to Premier League viewing figures:

‘Sky said the dip in the average numbers — the worst since Barb established its current audience measurement methods in 2010 — was partly explained by the new rights deal that gave it 10 additional matches featuring smaller, less popular teams.

The European pay-TV group added that the relegation of big clubs such as Newcastle and Aston Villa in the previous season hit viewing, as did live coverage of the Rio Olympic Games on the BBC in August. At one stage in the autumn, average viewing was down by as much as 19 per cent.

‘Broadcasters are under pressure as “cord-cutters” switch off their set-top TV boxes in favour of internet-based rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.”

Analyst Mathew Horsman of Mediatique said at the time:

“This is complex but there is some suggestion younger viewers are watching all the other stuff available to them on multiple platforms and that the high price of subscribing to premium football is putting off subscribers.”

Newcastle United of course dominated the Championship TV viewing figures, providing nine of the ten biggest live TV audiences this past 46 game season – details of those figures/games HERE.

So the bottom line is that there is still arguably just as much interest in watching live Premier League/English football but that punters are finding cheaper ways to access it, via the legal ones outlined above – as well as those who access via the internet and from the overseas TV channels.

Now new research by the BBC has added some very illuminating backing to the news above from last month.

Their research involved a thousand people being questioned, who had all said they watched Premier League football regularly.

The headline results saw 36% of those questioned saying that they regularly (at least once a month) streamed live Premier League matches online through an unofficial provider, 22% saying they did it at least once a week. With 47% of fans admitting they have watched a match through an unofficial provider at least once in the past.

However, the massive worry for the likes of BT Sport and Sky Sports is that there is an entire generation who are now seeing this (watching illegally) as the norm.

The BBC survey showing 65% of those aged 18-34 watching matches illegally at least once a month. This compared to 33% of the 35-54 year olds and 13% of those aged 55+.

BBC Sport:

More than a third of Premier League football fans say they regularly watch matches live online via unofficial streams, according to a 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.


Kodi is free software, built by volunteers, that is designed to bring videos, music, games and photographs together in one easy-to-use application.

The developers behind Kodi say their software does not contain any content of its own and is designed to play legally owned media or content “freely available” on the internet.

However, the software can be modified with third-party add-ons that provide access to pirated copies of films and TV series, or provide free access to subscription television channels.

In March, a man from Hartlepool was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £250,000 for selling Kodi boxes to pubs and clubs.’

  • Toonbadger

    Because it is so easy to “STREAM” games, Sky and BT will be coming together to stop it happening.(which would be difficult to say the least) I would rather they open up a PPV, where we can pay to watch any single match and The FA and Premier League should back them. They have the technology and could lower their fees for a single game of your own choice(and not subscribe fully to Sky Sports or BT Sports). Instead of watching Man U v Huddersfield or Watford v Brighton, we could watch our own club play on a Saturday If not, then they will have to put up with the fact that where there`s a will there`s a way. I for one will carry on streaming when I can`t get to games and all because of the greed of Sky and BT. It`s time they thought about the everyday footy fan and that not all of us want to watch what they show live if our own team are playing at the same time.

    • Wor Lass

      Good thinking!

  • mactoon

    I bought a NowTV box and pay £6.99 for a 24 hour Sky Sports pass every time Newcastle are on Sky. But in an attempt to improve the service I have contacted them several times to provide a pay per match pass as suggested by Badger.

    • Toonbadger

      Mactoon I`ll put money on either they did not reply or the same old line that the premier league wont allow it to happen. It will happen, it will have to, to keep the sub prices in an area where it can be affordable to all. Sky and BT Sports wont survive very long without doing it, but when is the big question

      • mactoon

        Well no response was the reply!

        The £6.99 24 hour pass is still good as you can usually catch the Saturday game and an early Sunday game so two matches is good value

        • Toonbadger

          Thing is with that is that you can only watch what they broadcast. With the free streaming you get the 3 PM`s

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I posted yesterday i cancelled sky at the end of May, yesterday they phoned me & offered a 60% discount for year if i rejoined which i did
    i get Bt sport for nothing as i have their broadband

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    the guy i spoke to said sky is considering a soccer only subscription in the near future

    • Toonbadger

      you will only be able to watch what they broadcast. not the 3 pm Saturday games

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        i know that, that`s what Kodi`s for

        • Toonbadger

          I use an IPTV app called Perfect Player and sub £10 p/m to Flawless IPTV never let me down and get all sports and films inc. international channels. never miss a game

  • toonterrier

    Seen an advert for Fox TV which is advertising set top boxes for $30 which shows all channels and say its legal. Tempted but being an American company don’t know a thing about them. What I can say is the sooner Sky lose serious money and the money given to the top clubs drop then we can say goodbye to the overpriced average players,their obscene wages and hopefully season ticket prices will fall. No doubt with the long contracts given to players then several clubs will go bust but time to put a cap on the wages given to people who just have to turn up to earn it.

  • goggsy

    A certain irony in the fact that the early 90s sky deal,set the wheels in motion for the dross they now pass off as football. Now they aren’t happy? Me neither.

  • Steve Smith

    If the cost of sky sports wasn’t more than the cost of a season ticket then people would be less inclined to watch games via less legal means. That’s before you even take into account that sky will only show a handful of games all season. Cost per game rockets up then.

  • Whickhamrobbie

    i got sky on talktalk tv for £6 a month for 6 months then cancelled and they did a deal for £12 i would not pay more .
    I know a guy (not me ) who streams every other saturday game as he pleases no problems

  • Steve Pearce

    It seems you need a degree in computer science just to load the basic Kodi and then sometimes it just won’t work. As for other sites, invariably most links require you to join betting sites and deposit up to a tenner so you can watch games. Then there’s the non-working extensions you are required to load that don’t actually allow you to watch any games. So there’s always Radio Newcastle’s fine coverage and MOTD for the highlights, But sometimes perseverance can pay off as some fine links are out there, but it can take up to 10 minutes to find them

  • molend

    I watch Newcastle in Greece and Bulgaria on my computer. I keep getting malware and would be very happy to subscribe to BT/Sky. But they won’t let you. Very reluctantly I’m getting a tv next month. Paleolithic, I know, but I’m fed up of trying explain to wor lass, that I actually didn’t invite Eleni or Svetlana to get in toucch with me