Football fans feeling the pain as costs mount, says Virgin Media

Tom Mockridge

Tom Mockridge

Some 77% of English football fans want to see more Premier League football made available on TV, according to research commissioned by Virgin Media.

According to the Liberty Global-owned cable operator, two thirds of fans believe that the rising cost of Premier League live TV rights means they will pay too much to watch live football. Only 6% of fans say they were able to watch every match they wanted to on TV at home.

Regarding the Premier League’s deal with BT and Sky for rights, Virgin Media said that only 13% of football fans think fans will benefit from the new rights deal, while 53% think the FA Premier League itself will be the main beneficiary.

The current football deal means that 168 games out of 380 will be shown on UK TV, according to Virgin media, which said that the number of tames shown in the UK had incrased by 21% over the last eight years, despite the price of rights increasing by over 200%.

“Football fans are getting a raw deal. They pay the highest prices in Europe to watch top-flight football on TV yet are denied some of the best matches. Ofcom should show the red card to the Premier League and the way in which TV rights are sold in the UK,” said Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge.

“It’s time Ofcom decides whether an auction structure based on now expired commitments agreed in 2006 justifies a self-determined exemption from competition law. The results surely speak for themselves, over the same period the cost of live TV rights have rocketed by nearly 200%.”

Ofcom launched an investigation in to the sale of Premier League rights a year ago, following a complaint by Virgin Media.