Adam Lord’s sporting soapbox: The perils of pay-per-view TV

Tiger Woods will take on old foe Phil Mickleson later this year with the viewing public being charged a reported $24.99 to watch their 18-hole contest
Tiger Woods will take on old foe Phil Mickleson later this year with the viewing public being charged a reported $24.99 to watch their 18-hole contest

Pay-per-view. It’s a phrase that sends shivers down the spine of many of a sports fan.

Most of us already fork out an ever-increasing sum for a monthly TV package that generally gives us more live action than we could ever need.

But now, more than ever, the squeeze really is on when it comes to broadcasters looking for every penny they can get.

Boxing is staple of the PPV market, promoters arguing that fans paying more on top of their subscription allows them to make the fights they all want to see. Anthony Joshua, for example, is one person that if you aren’t willing to pay £20 a pop three or four Saturday nights a year then you won’t see him in action in your living room, such are the purses that his fights now demand.

Frank Warren alone announced three events in one night recently as BT Sport move into the market.

Tyson Fury challenging Deontay Wilder, Carl Frampton facing Josh Warrington and Gennady Golovkin’s rematch with Canelo Alvarez will all come at an extra cost to the viewer.

Perhaps of more concern should be the recent trend of novelty events appearing on PPV. The ‘celebrity’ boxing match between YouTube stars KSI against Logan Paul at the Manchester Arena on Saturday was one such night that points to a new phenomenon.

With millions of subscribers behind them the pair exchanged verbal blows online in the run-up the contest, sold 18,000 tickets at one of Britain’s most iconic venues with those watching online also being charged £7.50 to watch it.

What they got was a gloried sparring session over six rounds which ended in a draw. And that means what? You guessed it – a rematch in most probably Las Vegas.

Also in America’s 
Sin City, golfing greats Tiger Woods and Phil Mickleson will play 
each other over 18 
holes on Thanksgiving week-
end in November.

It is winner-takes-all with $9m at stake, while those with an interest in watching will be charged a reported $24.99.

It’s being billed as a grudge match between two men who were once sworn enemies on the course but are now understood to get on just fine.

In fact, they will likely be Ryder Cup team-mates before meeting for big money in Nevada.

For those who protest about any of this there is one big problem.

People keep on paying and anyone with even the most basic of business brains knows that if people are wiling to dip into their pockets for something, there is someone out there willing to charge for it.

Who would bet against the events getting more outrageous in the months and years to come?