The Premier League’s pay-per-view model may have drawn widespread criticism and boycotts from some fans, but their viewing figures have been slightly above target so far.
Fans have been asked to spend £14.95 on a string of Premier League games that have been available on BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office.
The Daily Mail reports that the figures for the first nine PPV matches were given to clubs on Tuesday and the average number of buys was 39,000.
This came in marginally over the Premier League’s target, which was to match stadium attendances.
The average attendance for the 2018/19 season – the last one free from Covid-19 – was 38,168, which means they have just about hit their target.
Three of the nine games so far got less than 10,000 viewers and none managed more than 100,000, with two hitting the 70,000-90,000 mark.
The Athletic predicted that average viewing figures of around 40,000 would work out at £600,000 earned for clubs, minus broadcast fees.
PPV games so far
Sat Oct 17: Chelsea 3-3 Southampton BT Sport Box Office
Sat Oct 17: Newcastle 1-4 Man United Sky Sports Box Office
Sun Oct 18: Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham BT Sport Box Office
Sun Oct 18: Leicester 0-1 Aston Villa Sky Sports Box Office
Mon Oct 19: West Brom 0-0 Burnley Sky Sports Box Office
Fri Oct 23: Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds BT Sport Box Office
Sat Oct 24: Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace BT Sport Box Office
Sat Oct 24: Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United – Sky Sports Box
Sun Oct 25: Arsenal 0-1 Leicester – Sky Sports Box Office
Mon Oct 26: Brighton 1-1 West Brom Sky Sports Box Office
The 39,000 average did not include Brighton vs West Brom, which may well have lowered the figure.
The scheme has come under heavy criticism, with Gary Neville saying on Sky Sports on Monday night : ‘It’s finished, no one is paying for it, no one is watching it, it’s done.’
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has called for the price to be significantly reduced.
‘Charging £14.95 for single televised matches in the current climate it is not acceptable to any football fan,’ Ashley said in a statement.
‘Supporters have overwhelmingly rejected this offer and the Premier League must now act.
‘Why not make it much more accessible at £4.95 per match until Christmas?’
Premier League clubs are expected to vote today (Tuesday) on lowering the price of PPV matches.