Sky defend big drop in Premier League viewing figures

Date published: Saturday 15th October 2016 11:40

Sky Sports: Viewing figures down

Sky Sports: Viewing figures down

Sky Sports have defended news that viewing figures of their live Premier League matches have dropped by a 19% this season.

Despite showing the Manchester derby and  Arsenal v Liverpool and Chelsea v Liverpool games the subscription channel have reported a significant drop in viewers with the Daily Mail bizarrely claiming “a hot summer” to be a contributing factor.

The illegal streaming of matches and the rival attraction of the Olympics was a more likely explanation, but it will surely have alarm bells ringing at Sky headquarters, despite their apparent lack of concern.

A Sky spokesman told the Daily Mail: “It is a premature comparison when several high-profile matches such as Liverpool v Manchester United have yet to air on Sky Sports. We have shown the top 10 most viewed PL games so far this season.”

Sky and BT Sport paid over £5billion between them for their new three-year contracts to screen live Premier League matches.

Sky paid £4.2bn for five of the seven TV packages while rival BT paid £960m for the other two in the record TV rights auction.

Sky paid 83% more than it did in the last round three years ago, while  BT paid 18% more and has increased the number of live matches it will show from 38 to 42 a year.

It means Sky pay the equivalent of £11.07million per match, for the right to broadcast 126 live matches.

Managing director Barney Francis said in July: “It’s our biggest season ever. Our opening set of fixtures offers our viewers some mouth-watering fixtures and we’ll show every club at least once by the end of September.”

Sky will show Liverpool v Manchester United on Monday in what they hope will be their biggest game of the season so far.

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