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Sky subscriptions top 9 million

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Sky has announced that subscriptions have now passed the 9 million mark with around 100,000 new customers joining in the last three months alone. The news is especially interesting for the football industry as there are genuine concerns that the credit crunch will see fans turning their back on live football.

A Virgin Money survey in September showed that the costs associated with following a football team have risen by 36% in the past two years while an away fan can expect to spend more than £100 per game.

With many Premier League teams seeing gates drop – even the most successful clubs are experiencing ever-decreasing waiting lists – chairman up and down the country will be keeping a close eye on Sky and Setanta subscriptions.

“We’re going through tough financial times and I wonder how strongly the increase in subscribers relates to the fall in actual live attendance?” said Mark Longden, of the FSF Executive Committee.

“With the cost of tickets nowadays it’s no surprise that people are choosing to watch games on TV, which is a bit of a problem for everyone. The clubs lose gate revenue while TV companies themselves don’t like to see banks of empty seats.

“Who can blame people though? Spend thousands going to see live games, or get a relatively cheap subscription and stock up on booze from the supermarket?

“Football needs to take this seriously.”

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Top-flight fans message to Premier League: “Let us watch our teams!”

Last week the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) had discussions with the Premier League which indicated that 160 of the season’s 380 games would not be broadcast live to UK audiences during 2020/21. They still insist this will be the case.

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