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‘Very live’ PPV discussion expected at EPL meeting this week

The English Premier League (EPL) will be allowed to continue through the UK’s imminent nationwide lockdown, but fans are unlikely to return to stadiums until next March at the earliest. 

As such, the league will continue to evaluate its broadcast arrangements on a month-by-month basis, with pay-per-view the most contentious topic.

Last month, the league announced that it would be making matches not scheduled for televised broadcast available for PPV purchase via Sky Sports Box Office and BT Sport Box Office for £14.95. The move was widely criticised, with many supporters groups urging fans to instead donate to local charities.

The PPV remit was extended to last weekend, and The Athletic reports that the strategy will be on the table when clubs meet this week to discuss the next month’s plans.

The report cites scepticism from industry sources who believe that the £14.95 fee “is not a good look when further hardship is in store for many across the country and football has been given a special allowance to continue.”

It adds that some clubs are expected to argue in favour of a reduced price point to £9.95, while others will push for season-ticket holders to have access to streams at no extra cost.

In spite of ‘exceptionally low’ buying figures – the first nine matches broadcast via PPV generated £5.24 million in total revenue, with an average viewership of 39,000 buys – the report notes that a ‘number of executives’ at the league’s smaller clubs are ‘fully committed’ to the current scheme, with even a small number of buys making up for lost revenue.