Increased BT Sport and Sky costs 'crippling' pubs

Pubs and hotels must pay increased subscription charges to continue showing Premier League football and other sports

PUB landlords and hoteliers have said the spiralling costs of premium sports subscriptions is "crippling" business.

The sectors trade body in Northern Ireland, Hospitality Ulster, hit out at price hikes by both BT Sport and Sky.

Earlier this week, BT Sport said it would be adding 8.9 per cent onto bills from September.

It means the average monthly price for BT Sport for an independent pub will increase by £35 a month to £430, excluding VAT.

And the move follows an even greater rise by Sky which last month announced plans to raise prices by 10 per cent.

For many pubs, that makes the cost of a Sky subscription £1,500 a month.

Hospitality Ulster said the price hikes come "at a time when the pubs here cannot afford another additional bill".

Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said: "Many publicans have been shocked at these recent price hike announcements, with monthly subscriptions based on a premises rateable value, last year’s business rate increases have meant some premises will now see a 40 per cent increase in their TV subscriptions.”

“We want to encourage people to come out and socialise with friends and family and have a good time in our pubs and bars across Northern Ireland, that means providing entertainment such as the showing of major sporting events.

“The crippling price of the subscription service to the main sports channels are already exorbitant, and this hike may mean that many will simply have to forego the showing of the big games which ultimately has a real impact on custom, profit and the viability of many of our licensed premises.”

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