It’s 2017. Who pays for things these days? No one, that’s who. Oxygen? That’s free. The internet? That’s free. Music? Free. Films? Free. That new BMW that was in the showroom? Turns out that one’s not free which I actually think is a bloody disgrace frankly, they shouldn’t have left the keys behind the desk which anyone could get to by breaking in during the night.
But one thing which is definitely free is watching Premier League matches. No need to bother with that subscription to Sky or BT Sport – no, you just need to find a dodgy website or buy a Kodi box. Job done.
Well, shockingly, it turns out that the Premier League, Sky and BT Sport don’t want it to be free – something about them paying massive amounts of money for the rights and it not really being on that people are stealing their coverage apparently – and now they’ve won a major victory in their efforts to crack down on illegal streams.
The Premier League has obtained a High Court Blocking Order, with the ruling requiring UK internet service providers to block servers that are hosting the streams ‘by any means’. The changes will come into effect in time for the new season, which begins on 11 August.
Premier League director of legal services, Kevin Plumb, said: "This blocking order is a game-changer in our efforts to tackle the supply and use of illicit streams of our content."
A BBC poll discovered that a third of fans watch illegal streams of matches – and it’s one of the possible causes of the drop in viewing figures for football – last year saw the biggest drop in viewers on Sky in at least seven years, a development which has led Sky to revamp its channels and pricing structure.
Premier League executive Plumb said: "The protection of our copyright, and the investment made by our broadcast partners, is hugely important to the Premier League and the future health of English football. The ability that clubs have to develop and acquire talented players, to build and improve stadiums, and to support communities and schools is all predicated on being able to market, sell and protect commercial rights."
Fine, fine. But I get my massive new telly for free right?