Newcastle United supporters have raised an estimated £19,000 by choosing to give to a local food bank charity rather than watching their team on pay-per-view at the weekend, a fans’ group has said.
Premier League matches in October which have not been earmarked for regular televised coverage can only be watched live via Sky Sports’ or BT Sport’s PPV “box office” services for a fee of £14.95 per game.
Many fans felt that was a step too far when they already pay regular subscriptions to broadcasters to watch live matches. Last week, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust claimed the club have banked about £7m in advance sales for season tickets supporters are unlikely to use until next spring at the earliest.
The nufcfoodbank Twitter account said Newcastle fans had raised £19,000 by giving money to the city’s West End food bank rather than pay to watch the Magpies’ match against Manchester United on Saturday evening. Newcastle lost the match 4-1, conceding three late goals having taken the lead.
Other supporters’ groups are encouraging fans to boycott pay-per-view matches and give to charity instead. The Leeds United supporters’ trust said on Monday that 100 fans had donated the price of Friday’s PPV match against Aston Villa, in the 12 hours since it stated its intentions to donate the money to a food bank.
The Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters, said last week that the pricing for PPV matches was “defensible” and that the broadcasters were ultimately responsible for setting the price – with BT instead pointing the finger at the league.
The chief executive of BT’s consumer division, Marc Allera, said on Thursday that the suggested price came from the Premier League, and that BT was “pretty much just covering our costs to put these games on”. Allera added that the intent of the move was to “get some money moving into the clubs and the leagues that are struggling”.
It is understood the Premier League clubs are yet to reach a decision on how to split any revenue generated from the pay-per-view matches. Liverpool v Sheffield United and Arsenal v Leicester are among the games set for PPV coverage this weekend.