Today, Friday 9 October, the Premier League and TV broadcasters announced details of their pay-per-view plans for matches not currently scheduled to be shown live. Liverpool v Sheffield United on Monday 24 October is one of them.
It is agonising for fans that we will not be able to attend matches for the foreseeable future and Spirit of Shankly welcome the broadcasters and Premier League arranging for all fixtures to be televised.
Today it has been reported that price is to be £14.95 per game. That is £4.95 more expensive than the current EFL model. After production costs, the clubs will take the profits.
This amount to watch a match is unrealistic. It also, we believe, a risk to public health.
From the outset, SOS were clear in all discussions that fans would be prepared to pay for this additional facility. But, of paramount importance, that cost has to be affordable.
Given the economic situation millions of people find themselves at this time, and with all likelihood, it will get worse, asking supporters to pay £14.95 per non-broadcast game is disgraceful.
To put this situation into context, the club outside of the top six most shown are Newcastle United, who were part of the live games 19 times in 2019. Under this proposed PPV, fans wanting to watch the remaining 19 games would have to pay £285. The club shown the least over the same period were Southampton. They were one the live teams eight times, meaning fans would have to pay £450.
At such a price, fans could be tempted to join others to save money. The risk of spreading infection will then be raised, which is something that should be avoided at any cost.
SOS call on the Premier League and broadcasters to acknowledge the economic difficulties supporters are facing, and the subsequent risks to public health. Football is nothing without fans, but these are extraordinary times and the Premier League and broadcasters should acknowledge this and not risk alienating them for good.