What is the current situation?
Since the restart of the 2019-20 season in June, every match in the Premier League has been made available via Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime or free-to-air coverage on the BBC.
What has been decided?
In a statement published on Friday, the Premier League announced its “interim broadcast” plan, which confirmed all fixtures until the end of October “will continue to be made available to fans”.
However, these matches will come at an additional cost.
Instead, “the five matches per round not already selected will be made available to supporters on a pay-per-view basis, accessed via BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office platforms”.
How much will the PPV matches cost?
The Athletic understands that matches will be made available for £14.95 per game.
Premier League clubs will receive the PPV profits, after production costs.
What happened at the Premier League meeting?
The Athletic understands Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was the most forceful opponent to the plan to charge supporters £14.95 per month to watch games that are not scheduled for a regular television slot.
Sources familiar with the situation say that Woodward felt it was an unfair burden to place onto supporters and he also suggested a compromise that would enable season-ticket holders of all clubs to be granted free access to watch the pay-per-view games, but he was unable to convince his peers across the league of the decision.
It is understood that United felt this would be an unfair burden to place onto British supporters at a time when many are fearing security in the workplace, while United, as a team often scheduled as a TV pick anyway, would benefit only marginally from an economic perspective.
It is not clear whether Woodward’s opposition extended to actually voting against the proposal. When it comes to Premier League votes, it is common that even those who disagree with the collective position fall in line and vote in favour in order for the executives to present a united front around the table.
This, however, should not disguise that there were passionate differences of opinion on this issue but it was clear to United they would not have the numbers from their rival clubs to make a vote against the proposal significant beyond posturing.
What games will be on PPV?
Sky Sports confirmed shortly after the Premier League’s statement that Manchester United’s trip to Newcastle United on Saturday October 17 will be the first game to be shown live on PPV.
Leicester’s match against Aston Villa on Sunday October 18 will also be on PPV, as will West Bromwich Albion vs Burnley a day later.
What has the reaction been?
The Football Supporters’ Association has welcomed the fact that the games would be available to view, but urged BT Sport and Sky Sports to reconsider the pricing.
Gary Neville, who works as a pundit for Sky Sports, meanwhile described the plan as “a really bad move”.
(Photo: Arfa Griffiths/West Ham…