Pub trade slams Sky price hike

By Tony Halstead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sky, Sky sports

Sky's pint logo
Sky's pint logo
Trade groups and licensees have condemned Sky's latest subscription hike which will see charges rise by more than 13% from next August. NEW COMMENT

Trade groups and licensees have condemned Sky's latest subscription hike which will see charges rise by more than 13% from next August.

Hundreds of hosts face the agonising decision whether to cancel subscriptions or continue showing Premiership football and other sports as a "lost leader."

Sky has also revealed that its "PremPlus" package of 50 extra live Premiership games would also rise by 13.3% next season.

A number of licensees told the Morning Advertiser they feared a huge drop in bar takings if they blacked out Sky screens in their pubs.

One publican predicted the increase would force more pubs underground to show matches without commercial licence or via foreign satellite transmissions.

Host Trevor Hudson of the Black Bull, Standish near Wigan, said: "That's it for me and I will be cancelling Sky immediately.

"I just cannot understand how they can get away with these increases year after year."

Another licensee Allan Hayes of the Buck Hotel, Bangor-on-Dee said the rise was scandalous.

"If every company increased its prices like this there would be rampant inflation throughout the country,"​ he said.

Bury licensee David Heyes of the Garsdale Inn said he would be reviewing Sky as a matter of urgency to see whether his business could stand the increase.

Host Graham Rowson, who runs the Plungington Tavern, Preston, said he faced paying an extra £50 per month.

"You have to sell an awful lot more beer to cover that increase but we are an intense football pub and cancelling Sky would be a big decision," ​he warned.

Federation of Licensed Victuallers chief executive Tony Payne said licensees should not carry Sky as a loss leader.

"I would urge every licensee to do their sums and make an honest business decision whether to continue,"​ he said.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers said it was dismayed by the new charges.

"This increase is a slap in the face for licensees who are already struggling to make Sky pay.

"There may be sound commercial reasons for taking a Sky subscription but those who do will have to work even harder and invest more in marketing to make it a profitable decision," said chief executive Nick Bish.

Licensees pay an average £600 per month for the basic Sky sports package and were hit by a 12% increase in subscriptions 12 months ago.

Sky justified the increase by saying it was now showing more televised sport than ever before.

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

Your CommentsDave Surtees​ via email 16/06/2006We have decided to cancel our sky subscribtion after being in from day one.

John P Watters​ via email, 16/06/2006It's getting too much now. The reason it's gone up is not because more people are viewing it in pub's it's because less are.

More and more pub's are having it taken out so this changes the demographics in favour of sky because they only survey pubs with Sky in. Only the ones with big audiences or big backers i.e. Wetherspoon's and low rateable values to boot, are actually included in sky's surveys.

Why not start a campaign to boycott the robbing aussie?

Or come on BBC and spend some of our money on what we really want, SPORT. And I don't mean just tennis and three day eventing!

Ted Leigh​ via email, 16/06/2006I have just stopped sky and most of my customers support my actions. They(sky)are the biggest ripoff merchants going,even bigger than the pub companies.

Ian Wharmby​ via email 16/06/2006In response to the many emails you have recieved I took out the sky package at the begining of this year for a 12 month contract. Obviously, I now have to wait until my contract expires to cancel it.

Included at that time was the rest of the season for Prem plus channel. Iam now told this wil cost me over £1200 a year and my monthly rental will rise by £38. I have not had enough business increase to justify paying for both so prem plus will go. Why Oh Why dont I just go illigitimate and take on a foriegn channel. the fine is probably less than sky fees.

How do we get this mess sorted once and for all

Can your Newspaper clout not help us get a fair deal? Ed - Wish we carried that much clout Ian. We are doing the best we can though by covering the story and putting up these comments

Frederick King​ via email, 16/06/2006My pub - The Uplands Tavern - got rid of Sky (& indeed all T.V.s!) 5 years ago, since when our take has rocketed!

John Weaver​ via email, 16/06/2006Sky is and has been for a long time too expensive. I no longer subscribe, as they are just ripping us of like everone else, used to worry about the effects on trade, not anymore, enough is enough.

Kev Jackson​ via email, 16/06/2006Yet again S*Y want the publicans to dip into their profits and pay huge sums of money for football.

Get rid of S*ys system and buy one of the foreign satellites and buy an official subscription card and hey presto - premiership footy.

A good recommendation is United Satellite Systems, £1500 plus vat fully installed with 12 month subscription.

R Williamsn​ via email, 16/06/2006Sky lives in a dream world it is little wonder that the trade is looking to Europe to obtain better deals, the new price increase means that we will be paying close to £1000 per month and I suspect, like most, that it does not increase sales on average by the amount needed to cover the cost.

Depending on where you live, and the teams that your customers supports is dependant on, the number of customers that will come in to watch the match. Sky is living in cloud cuckoo land with the figures that they quote. It has lost its attraction as most people have Sky Sports at home and only come out when there is a major event that they want to watch within a pub atmosphere.

The FAPL have lost 3 cases recently, one on appeal, against pubs screening premiership games transmitted from a foreign satellite station within the EEC, the cost of which for an annual subscription is less than 1 months charge made by Sky, if the Portsmouth Publicans win their case then it is fairly certain that it will be the thin end of the wedge for Sky to either reduce their charges or lose their commercial subscriptions to European providers.

The facts speak for themselves, you only have to visit a pub that shows premiership football from ART, Nova, or Canal +, they are packed to capacity, especially during the closed period or when the likes of Chelsea, Man U or Liverpool are not on Sky and the punters cannot watch it at home.

If the FAPL was to allow Sky to show 3pm Saturday premiership football only in commercial premises then just maybe the monthly subscription would be worth it, but in the mean time the only way to defeat Sky is to do what the Portsmouth Publicans have done and that is to establish a fighting fund, but to take the FAPL to the European court for the right to receive premiership football in the UK from providers outside of the UK in the spirit that the European laws on broadcasting without frontiers was intended.

April Mould​ via email, 17/06/2006Sky is taking the mick, it do

Related topics: Licensing law, Sport

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