Sky Sports TV have seen a 14 per cent drop drop in viewers for live Premier League games – their biggest drop since records started in 2010.
The Financial Times report live viewers dropped, while total viewing hours also suffered a fall of 6 per cent, despite the record £5.136bn paid for viewing rights.
Sky Sports and BT Sport paid the vast sum in February 2015 for a three-year deal, which works out at a mammoth £10m per televised game.
Figures from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (Barb) show that Sky paid £4.2bn for the rights in the latest deal, while BT forked out £960m.
BT Sport have also reported a drop in viewers, but only of two per cent in average viewing.
Sky though have put some positive spin on the figures and are “encouraged” and point to their figures which show “the total number of people watching Premier League coverage last season was at its highest for three years”.
Those figures include consumption on all platforms for any longer than 15 minutes and Sky pointed to a 31 per cent increase in viewing through their own streaming service – Sky Go. That application allows viewers to watch live sport on the go on their mobile or tablet.
Now TV – a service which allows fans to buy day passes for £6.99 instead of signing up to long subscriptions – also accounted for the rise in Sky Go usage.
“Sky also attribute the less-than-flattering figures to the fact that the new rights deal meant that they were given 10 additional matches featuring less popular teams, while also pointing to the relegation and subsequent loss of Newcastle and Aston Villa from their coverage,” wrote the FT.