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New Premier League TV deals guaranteed to equal more empty seats

3 years ago

Friday brought us details of the next Premier League TV deals.

To extract the absolute maximum amount of money from their UK broadcasting agreements, the Premier League have agreed a number of changes starting with the 2019/20 season.

What they have basically done is voted unanimously (which tells you everything…) to offer the broadcasters more matches in the next three season package.

Offering more matches guarantee far more money and of course far more hassle for those who actually go to games, rather than flick on the TV remote or stagger to the pub and back.

A minimum of 22 more Premier League games per season will be shown live, which means for the first time at least half (190) of the matches will be moved and shown on live TV (see details below).

The UK rights for 2016/17 to 2018/19 paid the 20 Premier League clubs a total of £5.136bn per season, this was a 70% increase on the £3bn per season for the three PL seasons before that.

The sky is obviously the limit money-wise with these next three year deals, though match going fans will increasingly suffer as more midweek live TV matches will be key to providing enough slots to show the extra games.

Recent seasons have seen the Premier League acknowledge that massive selling points of the PL TV deals is the number of travelling fans and the lack of empty seats overall in stadiums, compared to the likes of Spain and Italy.

However, this short-term dash for extra cash could prove a negative longer-term.

We already see Arsenal sold out every home game BUT up to 10,000 empty seats each Premier League match, as season ticket holders can’t be bothered with the hassle of awkward kick-off times and/or lesser opposition.

Can you imagine in two years time and say you have Arsenal v Huddersfield live on a Tuesday night. The novelty of Premier League football gone for Huddersfield supporters who take a handful to the Emirates, then god knows how many Gooners not bothering…

Also to factor in, is the fact that as the BBC Price of Football survey pointed out this week, most clubs have now at least been shamed into keeping season ticket prices the same level, or even in some case dropping them.

Once the massive extra cash amounts are revealed for the next three year Premier League TV deals starting 2018/19, clubs will hopefully be shamed into dropping prices further.

Or even if they at the very least stay the same, in effect they are getting cheaper year by year as inflation happens overall on the public’s spending.

Even the likes of Newcastle United won’t be immune.

We have plenty of fans who live a distance away, as well as a lot of match by fans and random people/neutrals (from the continent, Scotland, wherever) who will/can make Saturday 3pm matches but may struggle otherwise, especially midweek games.

Imagine you are a Newcastle season ticket holder living 100+ miles away and you have say Newcastle v Burnley on a Tuesday night, as one of a majority of games being moved throughout the season. A couple of hours travelling there and back, after finishing work and then getting up for work the next day…

I don’t see Newcastle or others ending up as bad as Arsenal but if season tickets are in effect becoming relatively cheaper and cheaper and matches harder and harder to get to, I can only see one outcome. More and more empty Premier League seats for live TV games, whether it is at St James Park or wherever

You/they have been warned.

BBC Sport:

‘A minimum of 190 Premier League games will be televised live in Britain from start of the 2019-20 season.

Premier League chairmen voted unanimously for the package, with the rights set to go out to auction before Christmas.

A new package of Saturday night games is likely to be offered to broadcasters, along with more midweek and Bank Holiday matches.

There will be a minimum of 22 additional live games on offer.

The new contracts will replace the record £5.136bn deal struck with Sky and BT Sport in 2015.

That three-season agreement represented a 70% increase on the previous £3bn deal and involved 168 games being shown each season at an average cost to the broadcasters of £10.2m per match.

Sky paid £4.176bn to show 126 matches, including the first Friday evening games and both Sunday packages, and BT paid £960m for 42 games.’


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