Mike Ashley Calls for Price Reduction on Premier League Pay-Per-View Measures (Really)

Mike Ashley
Ashley has criticised pay-per-view – despite Newcastle voting in favour of the measures | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has criticised the Premier League’s controversial pay-per-view TV broadcast measures – and offered a solution as to how top-flight matches can be made more affordable to the fans.

With games being paid behind closed doors because of coronavirus, all English top flight matches had been available to watch for those with BT Sport, Sky Sports and Amazon Prime subscriptions for no extra cost.

However, with fans seemingly no sooner to returning to stadiums as lockdown measures tighten in the UK, a new pay-per-view arrangement (voted for by all Premier League clubs bar Leicester) was introduced in October.

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BT, Sky and Amazon had been showing games as part of their subscription packages | PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Certain games that had previously been available for free as part of subscription packages are now being shown behind a paywall, with fans having to fork out £14.95 game for the privilege of watching along live.

The expensive new measures were largely met with disapproval by fans who already pay high subscription fees for Sky and BT.

Fans of Liverpool and Southampton would have needed to fork out £50 to watch all of their teams Premier League games in October across the various platforms under the new system. Yikes.

Newcastle owner Ashley has now weighed in with his opinion – with a surprisingly reasonable take.

“I am calling on the Premier League to immediately act and review its current pay-per-view arrangements for live matches in the UK,” Ashley said in a statement released on Newcastle’s official club website.

“Charging £14.95 for single televised matches in the current climate it is not acceptable to any football fan. Supporters have overwhelmingly rejected this offer and the Premier League must now act. Why not make it much more accessible at £4.95 per match until Christmas?

“The Government should waive VAT on the above pay-per-view matches so that as many of those who are unable to attend matches in person can at least watch their team.

“The profit from the above reduced-price pay-per-view option, I would suggest that 50% would be retained by Premier League and 50% would go to the football pyramid below.

“As a club, Newcastle United did vote in favour of the pay-per-view proposal, but to be clear, this was because there were no realistic or any viable alternatives put forward to enable supporters to watch matches.”

As pointed out by AP journalist Rob Harris on Twitter following Newcastle’s statement, Ashley could’ve voiced his opposition to the new PPV system when the Premier League clubs met to vote on the matter previously.

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