Why PPV is already a thing of the past

IN A development so thrilling even Paul Bell broke his four week silence on the subject of LUTV, it was announced this week that tomorrow’s home game against Millwall will be broadcast live to overseas subscribers on a pay-per-view basis.

Given that Leeds United fans’ fivers will this time acquire a product worth having – a real game of football – the online reaction was largely acquiescent, nothing like the storm that surrounded last month’s pair of PPV friendlies. Some went further, with esteemed blogger TSS reprising a recent claim that PPV is here to stay.

PPV is all-too-commonly confused with pay TV. Ken Bates did it when swatting away criticism of his £5 friendlies on Yorkshire Radio by stating that “there are pay-per-view games on Sky”, when there hasn’t been for over 3 years. No, PPV is not the future, and it’ll only be in the present as long as British football’s existing TV contracts remain an anachronism.

The game will soon drag its broadcasting deals out of the stone age towards something resembling the comprehensive value to fans of Major League Baseball’s astonishing MLB.tv, a package offering all 2,500 games a season live online for just $19.95 a month. Being exempt from the constraints of existing local TV deals means that, as with tomorrow’s LUTV broadcast, such packages are hugely favourable to the overseas viewer.

LUTV has the capability to simulcast all Leeds United home games, it’s just the rights that need development. PPV is a stepping stone along the way towards clubs being media companies that play football, and this will be reflected in broadcasting deals and, therefore, the packages on offer to the viewer.

Tomorrow’s show is groundbreaking, but football over here will quickly make huge strides with online scheduling and PPV will be forgotten along the way. You, the market, will see to that.

5 Responses to “Why PPV is already a thing of the past”

  1. I think you’re right, that sooner or later all games will be broadcast like they are abroad to overseas viewers, but as we both have pointed out, the teams need to wrestle their individual media rights back first.

    As soon as the bigger clubs realise the value of owning their own rights, there will be a vote to take them back from the league(s). I used an example lifted from the Guardian of an American Baseball team whose assets are valued in the region of $1b. It’s media arm meanwhile, is worth $2b, and there’s nothing stopping clubs like Scum and Liverpool achieving similar figures. Leeds United may be a little behind at the moment, but it is a club with a worldwide fanbase that could benefit heavily from such an arrangement.

  2. Yes, this seemingly small move by LUTV could be the start of the shift towards the sort of media landscape you picked up on few weeks ago. Whether that’ll ever represent anything like the value for money of MLB.tv is subject to some scepticism here. That Guardian article was on about the Yankees by the way, so as a follower of the Mets I’d like to take this opportunity to say “fuck ’em”.

  3. Im not sure to be honest. As a white in Florida I think its a great idea, especially the size of Leeds’ overseas fanbase. I can only see the strengthening as well as growing that fanbase.
    When we get to the prem it will all be over, Ken is jsut exploiting a few loopholes in the rights.

  4. I don’t know… how would there be a comprehesive MLB-alike service if all the teams were negotiating their deals on their own? Aren’t Spanish TV deals done that way and hasn’t it screwed everyone but Barça and Madrid? (I remember a couple of years ago when the TV channels were showing each other’s games in some sort of spat as well). The size of America plays into their system too… the national channels still have block deals – it’s the local channels that buy just the home games (and can have the national channel blocked from showing the game as well – or themselves be blocked if the game isn’t sold out) – I think we’re too small for that to work here.

  5. Great to see new posters on here, so thanks for your comments.

    With overseas PPV, LUTV is indeed exploiting loopholes in the rights – but those rights aren’t set in stone and PPV is just a stage in their evolution.

    Recent research shows a lack of appetite for online football, but seemingly neglects to consider illegal streams. There’s nothing like the same volume of illegal links in baseball because MLB.tv is an absolute must-have. With some co-operation the football authorities, broadcasters and clubs could devise packages that not only win over the freeloader but also allow them to control content, prevent sharing AND earn revenue – all things that football is daft about. Ken Bates certainly is. But the product has to be excellent and competitively priced or fans will let it fail.

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