• Robert Gammon


What is PPV?

PPV is pay-per-view. Essentially a system of paying to watch individual events or matches.

Originally these games would not be broadcast, the idea being to encourage people to attend their local teams. But with fans not being allowed in stadiums these games have been free to broadcast in the UK at the time they are played.

However, after stating that all Premier League games would be available until fans are allowed back in stadiums, the Premier League and their UK broadcasters have now put these games behind a paywall of pay-per-view.

Why is it so controversial?

The reason that this is so controversial sits with the pricing of the matches at £14.95 and this is already on top of subscriptions needed to access them in the first place.

The Premier League is already known to be fairly extortionate in its pricing for fans. Season tickets often cost close to £1000 and if you can’t get to the stadium then you are looking for a sports package with Sky and BT, costing in the region of £50 on average per month. This does not include an Amazon Prime membership for the occasional games broadcast there.

Often many families and fans who cannot afford this expense would instead go to the pub to watch the games or they may have been lucky enough to have a ticket to see them play live. Obviously, this cannot happen at this moment in time and incentives to help long lasting season ticket holders just don’t exist.

In a time where families are hit hard, with many people not having a job in the current climate, and others on reduced wages, it seems incredibly harsh to ask for more money on top of what many fans already pay to watch their team.

What do fans think?

PPV therefore has gone down like a lead balloon. A quick search on social media will show you the widespread disdain for this price point and PPV in general.

It has been made clear that fan groups have not been properly consulted on this, with many supporters trusts urging their members to donate to charity rather than watch their games. This collective action has raised thousands under the “Charity not PPV” banner.

And it's not just fans, top pundits and professionals such as Gary Neville have expressed their anger at PPV and the confusion as to why the Premier League think it’s fair. It doesn’t take a saint to have enough empathy to know that this wasn’t going to go down well.

Why does the Premier League insist on PPV?

The games are already broadcast internationally, and the broadcasters will also have the added incentive of more viewers and therefore better advertisement coverage.

Therefore, the only real reason to charge fans is greed.

Yes, the Premier League is a collection of clubs that see themselves more as brands nowadays and are therefore in the business of making money. However, in the current climate it feels like this was the wrong course of action.

If ordinary people were consulted about this issue, and the EPL cannot pretend that they do not have easy access to a vast majority of active fan groups, then this would not have happened. But their wilful ignorance and greed has allowed this to happen.

Yet they refuse to back down and the next set of fixtures to be covered by PPV was announced last Friday despite the anger boiling in the background and Marcus Rashford’s own campaign to help feed children who can’t afford the basics, let alone see their favourite teams play.

My Verdict

Football used to be the game of the people and the only sport in which professionals predominantly came from working class families, at least that was the case in the UK. However, the game has been hijacked by those who wish to extract every penny from a cultural phenomenon. This may be acceptable when things are going well, but at a time when many are suffering this comes across as vile.

And moreover, football may be more important now than ever. "Out of all the unimportant things, football is the most important," said St John Paull II. The beautiful game has the power to unite a group in a common shared experience and this is needed now when many of us are stuck at home. Sport, even just watching it with others, has been proven to help mental health. To extort this need for an outlet in this day and age is contemptible.

The Premier League, Sky and BT have missed an open goal by pay walling a much-needed escape, they have etched a dark mark against their name that won’t be covered easily.

It is clear that PPV is the most horrid trick you’ll come across this Halloween.