one third of fans watch illegal streams

A BBC Survey reported that over a third of Premier League football fans admitted to watching matches online via illegal streams. The Premier League, Sky and BT Sports are obviously a bit grumpy about this.

Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation against Copyright Theft (Fact), said:

"People need to be aware that this is no longer a grey area, in fact it is very black and white. If you are accessing content for free such as sport, TV and films for which you'd normally need a subscription, or go to the cinema, or buy a DVD, this is illegal. "As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is."

why stream?

There are several reasons we can think of. Firstly is the expense. The cost of taking out a Sky and BT subscription, you need both if you want to watch as many Premiership games as are available, is ridiculously high. BT Sport on Sky will cost you £27.99 per month, if you don't have BT Broadband. Sky Sports is an extra £27.50 per month on top of the basic £22 so, a minimum of £78 per month to be able to watch only the allowed games. If you add in your UK TV Licence fee you are looking at nearly £100 per month - too much!

The second reason people turn to illegal streaming is the availability of Premier League games on the official media. If you are unlucky enough to live in the country where the premier League is being played you will not be able to watch ANY Saturday afternoon games. If you wander off to Europe on holiday you will have noticed that Saturday afternoon games are freely available on Sky and the other official sports channels. Bonkers. You can watch your team on holiday but not in the UK. These 'laws' are stupid and outdated. So many games are now not played on a Saturday afternoon and the old excuse that providing the games on TV would stop people going to matches makes no sense. Fans are far more likely to pass on a wet Monday night and watch on their tellies than miss a big Saturday afternoon game.

the solution

Whatever the big media companies do, the pirates will counter. While the prices are extortionate, football fans will find ways to watch for free or cheaper. We would like to see a reasonably priced package that allowed fans to watch all their team's games, including Saturday afternoon games, £10 per month would be about right , £20 maximum. Most people would prefer to watch a decent broadcast quality match than a dodgy stream and so the media companies would expand their customer base and retain the customers they already have. They will lose more and more subscribers to streaming if they persist in charging these ridiculous fees.

twenty is plenty

I apologise for stealing the Football Supporters Federation's away Ticket prices campaign slogan, but it fits. £20 per month would be plenty, IF all the matches for your team were broadcasted, none of this extra for HD nonsense and none of this not showing extended highlights if the other company is showing the match you want to watch - that is massively annoying, the media cartels are forcing you to subscribe to both of them!