A FANZINE chief today called on Premier League bosses to reduce ticket prices for supporters after the organisation struck a huge new TV deal worth £5billion.
Sky and BT Sport have combined to hike up the division’s British screening costs by 70 per cent, in a new £5.136billion deal to run from 2016 to 2019.
That’s a huge rise on the previous deal three years ago, when the rights were sold for a combined total of £3.018billion.
The Premier League will now net £113,000 a minute from their domestic television rights.
Martyn McFadden of SAFC supporters’ fanzine A Love Supreme, told the Echo that the increase in revenue generated should help to make ticket prices lower, but he isn’t hopeful that that’s what will happen.
“I’ve noticed that Sunderland’s away support has been up and down over the past few years, although we’ve sold out a lot this season,” said Martyn.
“If you look at our FA Cup game at Bradford on Sunday, the tickets are between £10 and £15, and they’ve all gone.
“So it would be nice if some of this ugly amount of money filtered its way back to the people who love the game, as opposed to being kept by the mercenaries who run it.”
SAFC announced earlier this week that all current season ticket prices will be frozen for the next campaign.
Martyn added that he would like to see the Premier League adopt the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Twenty’s Plenty call, to limit away fan tickets to £20 for adults.
“I think that is the way to go because if not, teams will be playing in empty stadiums,” he said.
“There’s definitely an oversaturation of the market and some of the football that certain clubs play, a bit like Sunderland at the minute, is very dull.
“There’s also an attitude that this is closing the door after the horse has bolted.
“People should have kicked off about this more than 20 years ago, when Sky was getting involved in football.
“In Germany, the fans have real power, prices have gone down, their attendances are up and the national team is capable of winning things, which you can’t say about England.”
Former England stars Gary Lineker, Jamie Carragher and Ian Wright now say a bigger percentage of the TV cash should go towards investment in grassroots football, and as well as reducing ticket prices for fans.
Labour’s shadow sports minister Clive Efford, said: “These are incredible sums of money and it would be nothing short of criminal if none of this extra money goes to expand participation at the grassroots of football.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore hit back though, claiming the league’s current three-year television deal will generate “more than £3billion in tax”.
“I think we need to go back to the facts: we currently give away on an annual basis something like £270million,” said Mr Scudamore.
“You’re looking at £800million that will be given away by the Premier League this term.
“We don’t need to do that, it’s because the clubs think it’s the right thing to do.”