How a pub landlady beat Sky in battle to show Premier League games

Chris Ison/PA Wire

There'll be an ear-splitting wailing and gnashing of teeth at Sky this morning after yesterday's judgement in favour of a Portsmouth pub landlady allowing her to screen live Premier League games via a Greek satellite broadcaster.

In cahoots with ESPN, Sky paid the Premier League £1.8 billion for the rights to broadcast all their games – go figure – and they didn't like the idea that Karen Murphy, who runs the Red, White and Blue pub in Portsmouth, had decided she didn't want to stump up around £12,000 for the rights to show the matches in her pub.
Instead, she forked out for a bigger dish, a different decoder box and a non-Sky card and bought in the service from a Greek broadcaster at a much lower cost. And she could show games that kicked off on Saturdays at 3pm which Sky say they don't televise live as they want more fans to attend matches rather than watch them from home or at the pub.

Have you ever tried to buy a ticket to a game on a match day?

Breach of copyright
Though Sky went nuts at her doing this and pursued her for breach of copyright, the European Court of Justice declared yesterday that Karen was perfectly entitled to the buy the service from whoever she wanted and that arguments about intellectual property or a desire to encourage the public to attend more matches held no water.

So there.

With a pub landlady's logic, Karen pointed out in interviews that if she wanted to buy a car there was no way a bossy corporate giant could tell here where she should buy it from and in the spirit of EU one-love, she decided that the open trading conditions among the 27 member states meant that one operator in one country couldn't put a stranglehold on its citizens when there were other options available from other Euro states.

And other options there are too. If you don't fancy the Greek solution, there's Sky Italia, and even Via Sat Sweden that offer all the Premier League football you could want, as long as you have the kit.

While it doesn't make financial sense for a householder to go down this route, as it will currently cost a couple of grand for everything while you can have a year of Sky football for £480, when a pub is paying £12,000 to the satellite broadcaster annually then you can see why there might be a few takers.

Of course, no one really believes this is the end of this particular game as it would be very surprising if Sky went down without a further battle.

But as far as I can see, so far the score is: Pub Landlady 1. Sky 0.
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