A survey conducted by the BBC has found that one third of football fans use “unauthorised providers” to view live English Premier League matches.

As quite a few fans know by now, Premier League matches are streamed live on the internet and are readily available to be watched once you know how to do it.

Sky TV and BT Sport hold the live rights for Premier League football, so technically it is illegal for anyone in the United Kingdom to watch matches other than on these services.

Which is why I, and I’m sure you too, have never accessed these illegal online services.

The poll was conducted by 5 live Daily, who asked 1,000 fans. The main findings were:

– Nearly half of fans said they had streamed a match online through an unofficial provider – just over a third had done so at least once a month and about one in five at least once a week.

– The main reasons included a friend/family member doing it and they just watched too, or the quality of the stream; or because Sky or BT TV packages were not considered good value for money.

– Just under a third of fans did not know whether it is illegal to stream live Premier League matches online from unofficial providers, but another third believed it is illegal.

What the authorities seem to forget though is that these matches are available on the internet as a direct result of them being beamed to just about every country in Europe.

Every country, that is, except the United Kingdom – where the matches are actually being played, but where it’s illegal to watch them!

There’s got to be some twisted logic in there somewhere!

There’s a whole argument about whether this is illegal, too.

If it’s OK to watch TV Programmes from, I dunno, lets say Bulgaria, who’s TV stations broadcast on the internet, then why should we have to switch off when they start showing football?

Don’t quote me on that Bulgaria example, by the way, as I have no idea whether it’s true. I just used that country to illustrate a point.

So What’s The Answer?

I actually think the answer is in Sky and BT’s own hands.

With the level of technology that we have these days, surely it must be possible for people in the UK to access these live games legally by the purchase of some kind of ” digital season ticket”?

For example Fans of Newcastle United given the option of buying a digital “season ticket” which would allow them to watch all of United’s games live on TV or their chosen device?

This would be great for folks who haven’t got a ticket for St James’ Park for whatever reason (housebound, job commitments etc), or who don’t regularly travel to away games.

The problem with Sky and BT at the moment is they assume everyone wants to watch the games that they choose to show in their live coverage.

Personally, I have no interest in watching Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal. And I definitely can’t get excited about games like “Watford v Bournemouth” or “Stoke v West Ham”.

I just want to watch the mighty Newcastle United.

And if I can’t get to St James’ Park to do that, for whatever reason, I want to watch them – and only them – on my telly or PC or iPad.

Come on Sky and BT – let’s do it!

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

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