Because with fixtures being played behind closed doors, it means a shut out for supporters up and down the county and with some of these also being season ticket holders, it has begged a question as to how to give fans the live match insight that they have been craving.

A question that during last season’s “Project Restart” was answered by putting all of the remaining 92 fixtures on television (while also utilising free-to-air platforms such as the BBC and Sky’s own basic Freeview channel Pick TV) and in doing so, it filled everyone’s voracious footballing appetite.

While although this method of all games on at all times was repeated at the start of the new Premier League campaign, there was the underlying belief that this could not go on for ever and if it did, more money would have to be found for the wholesale showing of England’s top tier.

A scenario that has created something of a bind for the Premier League, as with the genie out of the bottle in broadcasting terms and every game being made available to those who have the necessary myriad of subscription packages, fans were hoping that this would continue for as long as needed.

Unfortunately, that has not proved to be the case and with the announcement of non-selected fixtures now going behind an additional paywall, the era of regular PPV Premier League fixtures has now begun.

In any given match weekend, there are usually five fixtures selected by Sky and BT Sport as part of their current broadcasting deals and whereas recently before, the remaining five had also been televised, now they will cost £14.95 to watch instead.

While nobody is suggesting that they are against the concept of paying an additional fee for additional matches, it is such a price point that has proved to be the most galling and at a time, where every penny really counts, 1,495 of them is just a little too much.

Because, at such a price point there is arguably a false economy in play and if someone has enough technological nous or even just has a cursory glance on their Social Media platforms, they will be able to watch a PPV fixture via more nefarious means.

Which means the ability for the league to garner revenues via such a stream (not the illegal kind) has been severely diminished and the longer the £14.95 price point stays in play, the stronger the winds of discontent will blow.

Had the announcement come with a price tag of £4.95 instead, that would have been far more palatable and although there would have been some resistance, it would have been nowhere near the levels that have currently been on display.

Without this being an exact science, with it being three times as cheap, they would have most likely sold a far greater scale of PPV purchases and these funds could have then been diverted back to the clubs or even used as a fighting fund for those outfits lower down the chain.

At a time when managers and even owners of clubs are decrying such an announcement, one would hope that common sense would apply. However, with such a valuable product being desired by so many, you cannot blame the Premier League for extracting a maximum return at the same time.

Whether the weight of internal pressure will be enough to see a form of retraction remains to be seen, but at a time when a second national lockdown in England looms ever closer and the running of football itself comes under another threat, now might be time to make PPV a little cheaper.

Written by Dan Tracey

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