Exclusive: Shearer: I fear fans will be victims of pay TV war

Frank Dalleres
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FORMER England captain Alan Shearer fears ordinary supporters are in danger of being priced out of football following BT Sport’s blockbusting £900m acquisition of Champions League broadcast rights.

From 2015 British fans will have to subscribe to both BT and Sky in order to watch their clubs in all major competitions, meaning they are likely to be hit in the pocket.

Admission prices have largely fallen to reflect the economic climate, though a BBC survey found that the average cost of the cheapest season ticket at Premier League clubs increased this year.

“Season tickets are huge, subscriptions are huge, the Premier League television rights deal will get bigger now because of what BT have done,” Shearer told City A.M.

“It’s a difficult one – I understand people who run businesses have got to try to be successful, but we have got to be careful not to price the normal punter out.

“To go to a ground now and take your kids, buy the programme, have a drink – it’s a hell of a lot of money for some guys. I hope there is a way around that because we don’t want to price out the normal fan.

“I’d pay my money for a season ticket and I did when I was growing up, and it’s hugely important we don’t push those guys out because without them football really won’t be a game.”

Former Newcastle striker Shearer, speaking at the launch of a new studio in the City for fitness concept SpeedFlex, said his family would “absolutely not” have been able to afford two pay TV subscriptions when he was growing up.

BT Sport, which started broadcasting this year and shows some Premier League games, outbid Sky for Champions League fixtures for three years from 2015. The channel, which costs £12 a month or free to BT broadband customers, has pledged to show some games, including the final, free. Sky Sports costs £43.50 per month.

Analysts predict BT Sport will now rival Sky for Premier League rights, pushing their value up to as much as £5bn – a 60 per cent increase on the current three-year deal.