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Premier League live TV games – Broadcasters must now bow (finally) to fan pressure

3 weeks ago
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We are now all waiting on the announcement of the Premier League live TV games.

The Premier League having announced that by the end of this week, we would be told which games had…and hadn’t, been selected for the early part of the 2020/21 season.

When the announcement was made, it was also revealed that whilst more Premier League live TV games would now be shown this season than originally agreed, it would only rise from 200 to 220 of the total 380 PL matches.

The 220 Premier League live TV games to be shared between Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime (This split is 140 shown on Sky Sports, 58 on BT Sport and 22 on Amazon Prime).

In contrast, Wednesday brought news on the situation regarding fans having access to live TV coverage of EFL games underneath the Premier League.

BBC Sport reporting:

‘All English Football League games will be available to watch from home while matches continue to be played behind closed doors or at limited capacity.

A “flexible framework” has been agreed with Sky Sports to allow all games not televised live to be streamed online.

The EFL says it is a “temporary measure” that will be “subject to regular review” from early October.

Under the agreement season ticket holders will be able to stream their club’s home matches, with match passes also available for a ¬£10 fee.’

This is surely totally unacceptable and the government should be stepping in, if the Premier League / clubs don’t have the backbone to do it themselves.

So much for the coming together for the common good in light of the impact of the virus.

The broadcasters should be allowing all fans of all Premier League clubs to get paid access to watch their matches on TV, at least until the fans are allowed back into stadiums to a significant degree. Ideally until when grounds can be full to capacity once again but certainly until at least the majority of capacity can be filled and most match going fans can watch their team live (in the flesh) once again.

The broadcasters don’t want all Premier League live TV games to be able to be accessed legally by supporters because they think it will dilute the demand / interest in the matches they have selected to be shown in the normal way (on Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon).

Fans of Premier League clubs have become used to broadcasters getting their own way and dictating what the Premier League does BUT this should be one case where they need to be forced to back down in favour of supporters.

For Newcastle fans in particular, it is incredibly ironic that the broadcasters and Premier League by stopping (legal access) to all matches, are therefore forcing Newcastle fans to turn to TV piracy if they want to watch their team play all games this season.

You really couldn’t make it up.

Last week, The Mail had revealed that the broadcasters moved to block a number of Premier League clubs who had asked permission to legally stream matches not chosen by broadcasters, on their websites using the iFollow service developed by the EFL, in the hope of raising additional revenue via subscriptions.

So, after TV piracy stopped an NUFC takeover happening, the only way Newcastle fans (and those of the other PL clubs) will be able to watch every one of their matches is…by watching illegal streams of games.¬†Even more ironically, this will include many Newcastle fans watching games via beIN Sports!

As always of course, this move by the Premier League and broadcasters will affect the fans of some clubs more than others.

The likes of the ‘big six’ will see their fans relatively unaffected, they as usual will have far more of their games shown live on UK TV than others. Plus of course, these clubs will be chosen far more in the domestic cups, as well as every Champions League and Europa League game shown on live TV.

Contrast this with the likes of West Brom, Fulham, Brighton and others, how often will they be able to see their teams play on live TV unless turning to illegal streams?

Plus, there are so few rounds of Premier League games in the opening months, due to the ridiculous schedule to accommodate a laughable number of international matches.

Before 21 November 2020, there will be only eight rounds of Premier League matches, so fans of certain clubs might only see their team picked for one, two, three matches. Yet England have an incredible seven games in that period and fans of Fulham, Brighton, West Brom (and everyone else) will be able to watch all seven on live TV.

Newcastle fans (like with so many things) find themselves in a strange position. No matter how rubbish the team is, or how bad the football is to watch, Newcastle United are always picked far more times for live TV than the football deserves, very rarely is any club outside the ‘big six’ shown more than NUFC, simply because of the number of paying customers Newcastle fans provide. Indeed, after Newcastle’s last (2016/17) Championship season, the absence of NUFC was provided as a major reason for the drop in Premier League live TV audiences in official reports.

However, despite NUFC being set to be selected more than most when the official live TV games for the early part of 2020/21 are announced today or tomorrow. Like many of you, I will be forced into searching for the best illegal stream to watch many of Newcastle’s Premier League games in the coming weeks and months.

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