Mick Dennison column

Mick Dennison. Pub Landlord. York Hotel, Morecambe.
Mick Dennison. Pub Landlord. York Hotel, Morecambe.
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After a hectic weekend of televised football, the new Sky/BT Sport package was announced – eye watering sums of money changed hands for the privilege.

From the start of next season until 2019 a whopping £5.1 billion will be splashed out by the two satellite broadcasters, leaving the BBC and ITV to pick up the crumbs of minor tournaments and highlight packages; will this be good news for the pubs though?

Live football remains a key footfall and profit driver for pubs with top class football essential for those whose business model relies on their venue being the best place in town to watch live games – other than actually going to the grounds.

As yet, Sky or BT haven’t announced their charges to pubs for this period but you can bet there will be increases on the horizon making it harder for licencees to actually justify having it on, especially if the great Morecambe public don’t come out and watch.

Also what of the charges to domestic customers – will they be hit as hard as perhaps pubs will be?

As usual with these new deals there has been a lot of horse trading going on. For example, BT will lose their Saturday lunch spot to Sky but they have now got the teatime game. Sky will continue to show 18 matches on a Monday evening but now also have the choice of showing 10 games on a Friday night, useful to those teams playing in Europe on a Tuesday.

Talking of Europe, BT has secured the deal to show live Champions League matches at a cost of £900 million over three years.

To be honest, unless it’s Liverpool, Man City or dare I say it Man Utd, there is not a mass flocking to the pubs for Champion’s League group games. I think Sky did well there in getting BT to part with that sort of money.

As ever, none of the broadcaster has secured any rights to show matches at 3pm with a lot more money being spent on enforcement by Sky and BT in order to protect what they see as their copyright. Message to all pubs – don’t get caught.