The latest news out today in a 6 year grudge match is pub landlady Karen Murphy has won the European tie against the Premier League and is set for a final replay in the High Courts over her right to screen matches in her pub using foreign decoders.
Mrs Murphy lost the initial case and was ordered to pay £8000 to the vast Premier League coffers but instead of taking this lying down she referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) who have ruled in her favour, this now needs to be settled in the high court back home but it’s highly unusual for them to go against the ruling of the ECJ.
The repercussions of this ruling seem almost endless so let’s have a look at how this affects the key players:
Pubs across the country
At first glance this is excellent news for the suffering pub trade in the UK, you would have to be blind to have not noticed the increasing number of boarded up pubs over recent years and with an industry which relies solely on being able to draw a crowd more match day offerings can only be a good thing. Also in Karen Murphy’s case she paid £118 pound per month for her Greek decoder compared to £480 for Sky’s package this saves her £4344 a year!
The football fan
Quite simply more live football down your local, who doesn’t like the sound of that
With football TV rights being a major source of revenue for the clubs especially those without the big foreign investment they must be looking very closely how this is all going to pan out with the likelihood of the Premier League having to package the TV rights deals very differently in the future. There is also the potential drop in ticket sales with the option of fans having a few pints and watching the game much more economical for most (depending on how much you drink though I suppose).
The Premier league
This is where things get complicated as the ruling was quite specific in that it was only the screening of the match itself that cannot be considered intellectual property all surrounding media like the Premier League anthem, graphics and video sequences were protected by copyright allowing them to apply their many varied restrictions. This is also only an EU ruling and vast sums are made selling the TV rights to the wider world.
Sky & ESPN
Perhaps these two should be most worried about the ruling, especially Sky, with their ever increasing fees and seemingly iron grip on football coverage in the UK will this be a step in, as the ruling commented, making the EU single market a border-free zone for goods and services. On the other hand no one can deny the quality of coverage provided by Sky and is any other broadcaster really able to compete with that?
In summary this seems to be a victory for the common man, the nation’s landlords/ladies get to save money and increase trade, the average football fan gets to enjoy more games. Let’s leave it to the power mongers to sort out the technicalities as long as Karen gets her 8 grand back we’ll be on the right road.
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Written by Graham Brown