The rise is to keep pace with increasing costs and is as a result of the company’s continued investment in “the best content, products and support to help pubs make money with Sky,” according to Sky Business’s Managing Director David Rey, “We continually invest in giving Sky customers an outstanding live sport experience that makes them money.
“As we invest more in sports rights costs to Sky rise too,” he continued, “We must also review our pricing like all businesses do. But we absorb what we can. This year, no pub or club’s bill will rise by more than 5%.”
Alison Hackney, Sky’s Communications Controller pointed out, “We’ve got the best sport content, including 159 Premier League games – 33 more than in the UK – the British and Irish Lions Tour, 14 exclusively live GAA games plus the Semi-Finals and Final, Guinness Pro12 rugby, European Champions and Challenge Cup rugby and much more”.
She pointed out too that with extra Sky boxes free, pubs can make the most of Sky’s live sports content and appeal to more people by showing several live events at the same time.
“We aim to help our customers drive the maximum footfall and make more money throughout the year,” she stated.
Sky also launched an Irish version of its Preview magazine during the year. In addition, it offers fixture posters and a dedicated customer website Myskysports.com.
However the reaction from the trade here to the price announcement has been understandably hostile.
“We see no justification for any increase,” commented VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “Increases were put in place last year when the new Premiership deal was complete and it would be expected that there would be no further increases before the next such contract. There’s no inflation in the market so it appears that this is sheer profit-grabbing because of a near monopoly situation.
“It will now cost over €700 per month for the pubs on license band One to have the Sky Ultimate package together with the racing channels. In most cases that’s simply unsustainable. It should be noted that Sky do not negotiate – it’s a simple take-it-or-leave-it option,” he warned.
Alison Hackeny also pointed out that Sky has only had four price increases in nine years.
In the UK, the company has tied itself into Rateable Valuation in the licensed trade which will see Sky costs fall in some pubs while Sky has capped the increase at 5% for others that are subject to a RV increase.