News came out today that games that are not picked to be broadcast, will be available to watch on a pay per view basis. From the BBC article:
The five fixtures per round not already picked to be shown live, will be available on BT Sport Box Office or Sky Sports Box Office, priced at £14.95.
What is causing people to be upset (at least on my twitter timeline that is) is that the charge to watch these matches is £14.95.
Is it disgraceful tho?
I really don't think it is. This doesn't feel that out of line with the cost of other entertainment options. For example Disney's live action remake of Mulan was offered as a pay per view at £19.99 and that was on top of the monthly fee to subscribe to their streaming service.
This is also fairly cheap for a couple hours of entertainment, especially if this would be something that the whole family gets together to watch.
The hyperbole around calling this disgusting really makes me scratch my head. No one is being forced to pay the money if they think that is an unreasonable amount. You can make arguments that maybe at a lower price point, they would get more viewers (this is almost certainly true) but I think the Premier League views that this is probably closer to a price that maximizes revenues for them (I actually bet a price higher would bring in more revenue, even with less viewers as the matches likely to be shown are more niche and not exactly going to draw huge numbers of neutrals).
For example when Bleacher Report had the rights to steam the Champions and Europa Leagues they set the price per match at $2.99 per match. I think that they also had a lot more content that was very niche to most American sports viewers and they couldn't demand that high of a price. Like everything it comes down to the prices people are willing to pay.
Also the talk about transfer spending is pretty dumb as it is not related to this decision really at all, besides being a pretty easy way to appeal to people's jealousy. The money spent on transfers is pretty directly related to this being the League with probably the highest concentration of soccer talent in the world, which rather than making people not want to spend money to watch does the opposite.
If the arguments were, the quality of this product isn't worth the money and I think that the Premier League is making a mistake that is much more reasonable. I ranted about NBCSN's decision to move matches to their new streaming service but that was about the distribution of the new steaming channel missing the biggest streaming options and not allowing the option to stream from a laptop to a TV.
What this complaining comes across as is, I want to see this product really bad but I don't want to pay for it, well that comes across as whining to me. Sure we would all like all of the really cool stuff that is available in the world at a super low price or even free but that isn't how it works.
If you think that you get your money's worth of entertainment you'll buy the match, if you don't you can listen on the radio, follow via social media or find one of the plentiful illegal streams.