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Premier League ‘changing direction’ away from PPV

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The people have spoken

Everton v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

The massively unpopular pay-per-view scheme instituted by the Premier League and its rights-holders in the UK is dead, according to Premier League CEO Richard Masters, who was hauled in front of the UK government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee earlier today.

“We took a decision to move to pay-per-view and now we are reviewing that decision. We have listened to feedback, we will be changing direction and moving away from it and taking another step that will see us through lockdown, the Christmas period and into January. I can’t announce what it is.”

Unlike during Project Restart in the summer, when all games were made available either free-to-air or as part of an already existing pay TV subscription, the PPV scheme charged a rather outrageous £14.95 per game — yes, per game! While the argument for creating the PPV scheme was semi-sound (these games normally would not have been aired in the UK), given the pandemic and the closed stadiums, fans didn’t exactly have a choice to go watch it live instead, which made the sky-high prices (apparently suggested the Premier League itself!) entirely unpalatable.

Previous reports indicated that the Premier League would consider lowering the fee, to either £9.95 or £4.95 per match (even if those supposedly wouldn’t quite cover the claimed cost of those added broadcasts in the UK), but the entire scheme has been such a public relations disaster that scrapping it is basically the only option left — especially as the UK is now in its second national COVID-19 lockdown.