The is considering live-streaming matches online, a new report claims.
Viewing figures hit a seven-year low last season, and bosses are said to be “weighing up” the idea of making games available to watch through a Netflix-style streaming service.
The dip has largely been blamed on , but increasingly expensive ticket prices and TV packages, as well as changing viewing habits, are also key factors.
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Sources “with knowledge of the matter” say the decision ultimately hinges on whether or not the introduction of official live-streaming would negatively affect how much the Premier League makes from TV deals, reports .
In 2015, broadcasters BT and Sky paid a record £5.136bn between them for TV rights for Premier League games played from 2016-2019.
There is said to be a “growing acceptance” that a live-streaming service would help bring viewers back, but the Premier League’s decision-makers want to ensure the organisation continues to make more money from its deals with broadcasters.
A potential deal with a technology giants like Facebook, Twitter or Amazon is reportedly looking likelier than the prospect of the Premier League building its own service, though live-streams may initially only be made available to viewers outside the UK.
The Premier League could take a similar approach to the NFL, which recently announced a deal with Perform, which will see the media company market matches in countries around the world.
“This [NFL] deal is based around a joint venture where Perform are going to market the [NFL’s] direct-to-consumer offering for streaming live games in more than 100 markets including Australia, Argentina and South Korea,” said the source.
“The Premier League, like the NFL, would want to do something similar in a market that is not domestic because there are concerns that people will no longer be able to spend more on TV.”
According to a recent BBC survey, .
That’s an enormous figure, and is cause for concern for the Premier League and broadcasters.