Coates: We Must Not Forget Man in Street

Published: 06th February 2015 10:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th February 2015 10:02 AM   |  A+A-

One of the Premier League's most powerful executives has called for the multi-billion windfall from today's (Friday's) television rights auction to be used to lower ticket prices.

Peter Coates, the chairman of Stoke City who sits on the league's influential audit and remuneration committee, declared it was vital that what is being billed as a pounds 4?billion (euros 5.35 billion) bidding war - which could be worth pounds 7?billion (euros 9.35 billion) when foreign broadcast and mobile rights are concluded - resulted in attending matches becoming more affordable.

Coates spoke out on the eve of the Premier League's most eagerlyanticipated broadcast rights auction to date, one expected to make the richest league in the world even richer by the end of the decade.

"There is a lot of money being pumped in but it's absolutely crucial that we don't forget about the man in the street," Coates said. "We have to acknowledge that maintaining our support is important and that it should always be affordable.

"Whether it's freezing prices or lowering them for fans, we have to realise how important they are. If we're smart, we won't lose them.

"While we all recognise how important TV is to football, we've got to make sure we keep fans coming to the games."

The value of the UK television contract between 2016-19 is expected to outstrip comfortably the pounds 3.018?billion (euros 4.03 billion) paid by Sky Sports and BT Sport for the current three-year deal.

The warring media giants will both be looking to increase the number of games they hold, which should be possible with 14 more on offer across seven packages totalling 168 matches.

BT's pounds 897?million raid on Sky's Champions League coverage just over a year ago raised expectations it will attempt to blow away its rival in the coming days.

But its pounds 12.5?billion purchase of EE yesterday was the latest indication that it will allow Sky to retain the lion's share of matches.

BT narrowly failed to snatch them away at the last auction when it came from nowhere to gatecrash the sports broadcasting market.

The Discovery Network, which owns British Eurosport, is reportedly ready to bid following a meeting with the Premier League last month. Qatar-based beIN Sports has also been touted as a prospective bidder.

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