With the internationals still dragging this period of time along like a school kid who doesn’t want maths first thing on a Monday morning, there isn’t really a lot of Arsenal content for us to sink our teeth in to this morning. I said my piece with regards to the Kieran Tierney debacle that is and so I just have to come to terms with the fact that he won’t be available for City. There are still other games going on and so whilst we don’t appear to have any bad news regarding any injuries as of yet, there is still plenty of times for national teams to chew up our players and spit them out back to us in pieces.
We just have to pray that we get them back in a fit enough condition because the next few games are going to be hard enough as it is without there being some kind of an injury crisis for us to deal with. Again.
So whilst there isn’t much specific Arsenal-related news, however, what we have seen is that there has been plenty of noises over the weekend on two controversial developments; one of which is already underway and one of which is a potential that is being mooted for a few year’s time.
Let’s start with the here and now, which is that in the UK the Broadcasters have got their heads together and decided that all games that would not normally be televised, will now be available for fans to watch at the rather expensive £14.95 via pay-per-view TV. It seems as though the grand idea of the football clubs and those running the game isn’t to give fans a break during this difficult time, but instead try to squeeze more from those fans that they readily admit make the Premier League the spectacle it is.
We’ve all known for a long time that we are viewed as customers, there to be bled dry of the money we work hard to earn, but this is just another grab at cash from all involved in football and it is not a good look. The ‘justification’ is that fans pay upwards of £30 for match tickets anyway, so comparatively speaking this is a bargain.
Except it’s not, is it? We’re now being asked to pay more ON TOP of what we already pay to the broadcasters, for essentially the same product, even though we have all now had enough experience of the lack of fans in a stadium and it certainly doesn’t make the football more enjoyable to watch with no atmosphere. So what we’re now being told is that we should be grateful that the broadcasters are asking us to pay more; we should be humbled by their clever thinking and desire for fans to be able to watch all games from the comfort of their own home.
Let me tell you something: If the experience of going to a game was the same as being in a ground, then I wouldn’t pay the money I pay for my season ticket. So I don’t want to be told that I’m now being done a ‘favour’ by this action. If the Premier League and football clubs were really looking to look after the fans during this challenging time, they wouldn’t be charging 15 quid for an hour and a half’s worth of entertainment, would they?
I get that the clubs and Sky are looking to recoup more on the revenue that they’ve lost out on. I get that they need to think about driving new streams. But making fans pay that much seems a little steep. If it was a low fee, like a fiver or less, then you’d probably get a few fans – like me actually – saying that it is fair enough and I’d probably pay it. But there is me and many more like me who simply won’t cough up any money for the games that are scheduled to be on pay-per-view. Imagine how much more beneficial it would be from a PR perspective to offer the games for such a reduced fee, then get very high viewing figures. Surely that would be better for all concerned? Let’s say 250,000 people pay for pay-per-view for the Arsenal v Leicester game at £14.95. That’s £3.7million for Sky. Now let’s say that Sky drop that price to a fiver. They’d need to get 747,500 people to make the same money. I am convinced they could get that and more if they did drop the price, because people who aren’t Leicester or Arsenal fans might think “it’s only a fiver” and voila, you have large scale audiences back as well. It also means you get more money from advertisers in the long run because your viewing figures go up.
So, in short, this is a massive own goal, in my opinion.
The other talking point over the weekend has been the secretly codenamed “Project Big Picture”. I’m presuming the big picture the larger clubs are looking at is the European Super League with no promotion or relegation that seems to be getting closer and closer to with every passing year, sadly. It would give more power to the bigger clubs and my friends over at You Are My Arsenal have done a good job of giving a detailed overview of what it could mean for us.
Personally I hope it dies a death. I’m all in favour of Arsenal being given more opportunity to generate revenue, of having more say in how the league evolves, but at the price of reducing teams and games in the league, as well as scrapping the League Cup? No thanks. I quite like the opportunity to see rotated and young players in that competition and from a development point of view surely it helps? This needs to be given the short shrift it thankfully has.
That’s pretty much all I gots for ya this morning. Back tomorrow with some more thoughts as we very slowly tick down to next weekend and the recommencement of proper football.