The UK’s first ever online-only PPV international football match was watched by close to 500,000 people on Saturday, says its distributor – but the real number of online subscriptions was actually less than that.
Rightsholder Kentaro gave the Ukraine-England match to Perform, which offered it for between £4.99 and £11.99 via newspaper and other sites, after its previous distributor Setanta Sport collapsed.
Perform says it got nearly “half a million” “viewers”. But not all of them paid to watch at their PC – the match was also being shown for free over TV to UK armed forces posted overseas, some Odeon cinemas also screened the game via satellite and Perform reckons some pubs projected their PC display on to big screens.
It’s unclear how many actually paid to watch online and Perform won’t release detailed numbers for “commercial reasons”, but we have asked for clarification.
If, for example, 250,000 people, paid the early-bird £4.99 fee, Perform and Kentaro would have split £1.24 million. But many viewers will have paid the higher, £11.99 matchday price.
By comparison, Andy Murray’s semi-final match at this year’s Wimbledon attracted 2.1 million views via the iPlayer.
It might be historic, but there is not yet a revolution in sports broadcasting. This was, for now, a one-off borne out of Setanta’s demise.
As Perform’s executive chairman Andrew Croker tells FT.com: “This was a window of opportunity created by that particular match…It has mobilised public opinion, but you are not going to see England