Statement on PPV, Season Tickets and Project Big Picture
It’s been a busy few days for Burnley FC Supporters Groups and we would like to update you regarding our thoughts on Pay Per View games, our club’s 2020/21 season ticket news and, of course, Project Big Picture.
It’s taken a few days to draw some conclusions but our member groups have been lobbying their members since Friday on the first two of these issues and we’ve now been able to collate their thoughts in this statement.
Pay Per View Games
We were delighted, through the work of our Football Supporters Association (FSA) rep to play an active part in challenging the league when they initially revealed that some 160 Premier League games would not be televised this season.
A working group, made up of members of the FSA’s Premier League Network Group under the title of #LetUsWatch, had the remit of trying to ensure that all games should be made available via live screening to supporters until such time as grounds could fully reopen while accepting that we could not receive this free of charge.
There was an initial success with all games to date having been shown by one of the broadcasters and that’s seen our game at Leicester shown live by the BBC and the next two against Southampton and Newcastle screened by Sky. Unfortunately, the next three weeks of fixtures have brought a return to the usual broadcasting numbers with five shown in each week and five not being screened. That was until Friday of last week when the Premier League revealed that all of the remaining five games each week would now be shown on either Sky Box Office or BT Box Office but at a cost of £14.95 per game.
Our members have universally condemned this excessive charge. It is way too high. We didn’t expect it for free but neither did we expect a charge that’s actually greater than some younger and older supporters pay to attend home games. It would not even cover any refund on the season ticket charge for that game.
We would like to know how the Premier League and its clubs came up with this price. The accumulated cost of watching games is increasing considerably with subscriptions required for Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime to enable a supporter to watch all the games and it is also notable that Burnley supporters wishing to watch the games will be forced to pay the extra £14.95 on a more regular basis than the supporters of many other clubs who will be guaranteed to have more games shown via the scheduled television programme.
There are two questions to be asked? Did Burnley Football Club, as is widely believed, vote in favour of this excessive charge and will the Premier League and its clubs consider a more sensible price?
2020/21 Season Tickets
Our club issued a long statement last Friday regarding the current season tickets, outlining how season ticket holders can claim a refund should they so wish and what their options are should they wish to claim a refund.
For those who don’t wish to take a refund at this time, the monies paid, either via a full payment or direct debit, will be retained and will guarantee the lowest possible price for 2021/22.
For those who do take a refund, with applications being accepted from 1st November, your seat will be reserved for the 2021/22 season until June 2021.
However, you will not be eligible to apply for a ticket this season via any ballot should supporters be allowed to attend in smaller numbers, you may be required to pay a higher price for a 2021/22 season ticket and potentially will not be able to purchase using the direct debit scheme.
We were informed at a recent meeting with senior club management that all 2019/20 season ticket holders would be eligible for any ballot for games this season, a decision that has now been reversed. The club also publicly confirmed recently that 2020/21 season tickets would go back on sale for a short period. We understand that the likelihood of supporters being able to go back soon has been affected by the recent increase in COVID-19 infections but these groups of supporters, last season’s season ticket holders and those wishing to take a refund, have now been left in the cold for the remainder of the season.
Our members have mixed views on any potential price increase which we think, given the wording of the statement, is now inevitable, although we do consider that the club could show more understanding to those supporters who are currently in most need, and supporters whose season ticket money the club has already held for some seven months. We believe that the club have, with this plan, put some of our most vulnerable season ticket holders under pressure with threats of price increases and removal of the direct debit scheme should they choose, at this time, to take the money that is rightfully theirs.
We are very disappointed with the poor and, at times, lack of communication from the club and we can confirm these decisions were taken without any consultation with Burnley FC Supporters Groups.
Project Big Picture
We welcome yesterday’s statement that the Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League or the FA. We further welcome our own club’s decision to fully support and endorse the statement issued by the Premier League.
At a time of crisis for many football clubs within the pyramid, we remain shocked and appalled at the exploitation of the situation by some of the supposed bigger and wealthier clubs.
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