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Sky viewers threaten boycott over loss of EPL

By Jessica Beresford

Published: 6:24AM Wednesday June 19, 2013 Source: ONE News

Disgruntled Sky subscribers are threatening to cancel their contracts after the pay-tv provider lost out on the rights to air English Premier League football matches in New Zealand.

Coliseum Sports Media, which won a three-year deal for the rights to the New Zealand broadcast of the league yesterday, today announced it will screen the games on a dedicated pay-per-view online platform.

Almost 2000 people have to date joined a Facebook group called "Unsubscribing from Sky TV because no EPL" this afternoon, and many have taken to social media to air their grievances.

"I'm already looking at freeview now. Ill even forgo soho. I'm so peed off. We only ever got sky for the football," Michelle Bissenden said on Facebook.

Mark Chiddicks said: "The fact is Sky still have the Champions League, so any football fanatic will need both services and hence pay more, there's no way around this, this will either cost you more money, or you'll get less."

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What the games will cost you

The scheme announced today will see , which will be launched on August 1, showing all 380 games of the season live, with 250 of those available on-demand for under $150 for the year.

TV ONE will also deliver 38 "Match-of-the-Week" games every Sunday, as well as a Highlights Show aired on Monday evenings.

Jeff Latch, TVNZ's Head of TV ONE and TV2, said he was thrilled to bring the Premiership back to TV ONE screens after a gap of many years. 

"We're excited to be working with Coliseum to give TV viewers a chance to see the world's most watched and closely followed football competition. We know football fans are passionate supporters of the beautiful game," he said.

"These are exciting times to be in the media business and this is a fascinating development for premium sports content that we expect to be welcomed by New Zealand viewers."

CSM chief executive Tim Martin said: " will give football-loving Kiwis the power to watch the most competitive and compelling league in the world of football when they want to."

The website will use adaptive streaming to ensure broadcast quality and uninterrupted viewing.

Martin said the collaboration with TVNZ was to try and connect more fans directly with the sport.

"We think it's great that New Zealanders will get the opportunity to get involved with the Barclays Premier League, for free, at a time they can watch it on the weekend and on Monday night," Mr Martin said.

"Nowhere in the world is the entire Barclays Premier League free to viewers. Now is the time for New Zealand sports fans to literally set the rules and join in the global game."

Day and season passes

Mr Martin said the pay-per-view website would be available on Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android phone and tablets, through Apple TV or by connecting their laptop to TV using an HDMI cable.

Packages for the online service are $24.90 for a day pass, $149.90 for a season pass, or $239.90 for a season pass platinum with extra features.

CSM outbid long-term rights holders SKY Television in its move to secure the EPL.

Sky chief executive John Fellett said the company's subscription prices would remain the same despite not being able to show the competition.

"Our sports rights are more expensive now than they were a year ago, even without the EPL," he said.

Fellett said Sky would instead be showing more All Whites, Football Ferns and Wellington Phoenix games to compensate for the loss of the EPL.