Sky, damned Sky and its football spend statistics

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sky, Customer, Passport, Youth

Last year, Sky charged me £16 per game for PremPlus. I paid this, not because I thought there would be a good audience for football at Saturday...

Last year, Sky charged me £16 per game for PremPlus. I paid this, not because I thought there would be a good audience for football at Saturday lunchtime and Saturday teatime, but because I was frightened Sky would change tack after Christmas (they wouldn't state their post-Christmas schedule) and start showing PremPlus on Sunday and midweek, when my good audiences are in the pub, and then show regular subscription matches on Saturday. If they'd done that and I'd not paid for PremPlus then I'd have had nothing to show Sundays and midweek.

As it happened, that didn't occur. What did become apparent was that PremPlus was wasting lots of brilliant games on Saturday, when my customers were getting over Friday night or helping the wife with the Saturday shopping. Saturday evening was just as bad, because most of them were gearing up for discos and restaurants, or coming to our pub at 8pm when the matches were over. If they had watched matches on Sky on those Saturdays it was usually in town centres or on their cheap domestic PremPlus. Sadly my pub is not in the town centre. Matches ignored in my pub on a Saturday (and I mean Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and the ilk) would have filled my pub on other days of the week. As it was, I had zero takings for many of them on a Saturday.

This all led to lower interest and lower quality, matches on Sundays, which diminished my Sunday takings. Sky's arrangements last season reduced my take for football.

Sky's assertion that one million more people watched football in pubs last season at an average spend of £15 per head is flawed, if not a downright lie. I was absolutely packed for Liverpool's Champions League final... I do know what packed is... the average was £10.75 per head and the total was £500 less than Fridays, when there is no football. The match did give me £500 more than if I hadn't had it on, but after all those zero matches my average match spend in no way came to £15.

Sky might like to think deeply about what a £15 per customer per match spend means in terms of drunkenness at a time when the powers that be have their eyes on the trade. It means six pints per match and on a two-match day an imbibing of 12 pints. Don't let Sky say it's different customers for different matches. It ain't! If the matches are good it's the same customers. If the matches are lousy it's very few customers. But whichever it is, only a mad landlord would serve 12 pints to every football customer. Sky's statistics are very unreliable.

As a further example because my pub is so quiet on a Saturday, despite Sky's football transmissions I very often go with my wife to see a live match. Before the match we go and eat at a pub full of supporters. It's a huge pub. It shows Sky. The pub takes a fortune (my wife and I don't, by the way, spend £15 each). The point is that we'd all be in there, with or without Sky. It's a real, live football match that's taken us there not the televised variety. Yet I know that this pub's takings will be fed into Sky's statistics.

How small pubs will ever get a fair deal from Sky I don't know. As you might tell from what I've said, above £16 per match is excessive and a £15 average customer spend is just pie in the Sky.

John Bruce

Licensee

The Mitre

Buckingham

MK18 1DW

PASS cards not passports are way ahead

Congratulations to South Shields Pubwatch on their 'Challenge-21 scheme, which you report (Morning Advertiser, 21 July) will encourage the challenging of customers who appear to be under 21. This approach is now considered best practice, and it's to be hoped will soon be standard practice.

Not so clever, though, is their insistence that only passport or driving licence will be acceptable proof of age.

Virtually every proof-of-age card now held by young people bears the PASS (Proof of Age Standards Scheme) hologram, which indicates that the card issuer has passed a rigorous audit carried out by trading standards, and that the card can be relied upon. All the UK's major card issuers have been accredited and most local ones too.

More than a million cards bearing the PASS hologram have been issued so far.

The objectives of the scheme which has the full backing of the Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers, and the Trading Standards Institute are to eliminate forgeries, to display the same, recognisable logo on all genuine cards, and to enable young people to gain the goods and services to which they are legally entitled without having to carry around valuable documents.

No responsible young person just the sort of customer most of your readers would like to have wants to risk losing their passport or driving licence when they're out for an evening with their friends, and the PASS scheme solves that problem.

The acceptance of PASS as the national standard is in everyone's interests the trade, young people, and those who have to enforce the law.

Robert Humphreys

Chairman, PASS Board, and Honorary Secretary, All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group

Pentre Farm

Pentre

Bucknell

Shropshire

SY7 0BU

Related topics: Licensing law, Sport

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