Fury at Sky price rises

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sky sports, Sky

Licensees have been left outraged by the latest hike in price for an annual Sky subscription. On top of previous inflation-busting rises, pubs face...

Licensees have been left outraged by the latest hike in price for an annual Sky subscription.

On top of previous inflation-busting rises, pubs face paying an average 13 per cent extra for Sky from August 1.

The increases will hit hard licensees who are also facing the increasing financial burden of the new Licensing Act and the cost of preparing for next year's smoking ban.

Margo Boyle, licensee at the Tap and Spile in Morpeth, Northumberland, described the latest rises as "disgraceful".

"It makes it very expensive, if you have a small pub like me," she said. "I will have to have a serious look at whether to keep Sky. But we got rid of it before and we lost a lot of our trade."

Graham King, licensee of the Jolly Abbott in Rugby, Warwickshire, said the rises could not be justified.

"The increase is way above inflation, added to the massive rise we had with the revaluation of our rates last year," he said. "It's touch and go if we can afford to keep it, but we have invested a lot in buying screens, so we are in a no-win situation."

Mr King said he also faced competition from the many clubs in the area, which receive Sky at a cheaper rate.

According to independent research more than 6.1 million adults now watch live sport in a pub or club each week. But despite its popularity some operators are now considering removing Sky from their pubs.

Lancashire-based pubco Daniel Thwaites said it was thinking about scrapping Sky in 20 per cent of its managed pubs.

Paul Howarth, retail director of Thwaites, said: "I don't think it can justify these increases. But the way Sky has been behaving of late, we anticipated that it wasn't going to be reasonable.

"It has just gone from bad to worse as far as we are concerned with Sky.

"The timing is clinical. Just as everyone is enjoying watching football in the pub - it shows how much we need it to attract people."

But a spokesperson for Sky said: "There are more people watching live sport in pubs and clubs, at a time when there is more televised sport being shown than ever before."

"Sky offers pubs and clubs the opportunity to show the best televised sport available and we believe that businesses that choose to take Sky do so for sound commercial reasons."

l The European Commission last week ruled that the Premier League did not break EU competition rules when it auctioned off TV rights to live matches.

The auction saw Sky's monopoly Premier League broken as Irish broadcaster Setanta picked up two of the six packages on offer.

Related topics: Sport

Property of the week

The Hazeldene Hotel

- Tenancy

The Hazeldene Hotel is opposite the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green. With 11 letting rooms, it is in a prime location to offer fantastic...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more