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SKY THINK IT'S ALL OVER.. EXCLUSIVE Pubs axe TV football in credit crunch.

Byline: BY JAKE MORRIS

THOUSANDS of struggling pub landlords are ditching Sky's Premiership football service, claiming the soaring costs is crippling them.

With the new season kicking off today, industry insiders say the number of bars now showing live matches has plummeted by 6,000 since 2003.

Pub bosses claim Sky's high prices, coupled with high rents and an increase in the cost of booze, is forcing them to get rid of the service.

Trade group ALMR said bars are now paying pounds 13,000 a year to have the satellite TV station - with some forking out 13 per cent more than last year - a claim Sky disputes.

ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: "Watching a big game in the local with friends is as close to being there as you can get.

"It's also the only place fans can watch live Premiership action for free. This is being threatened by Sky's relentless price rises."

Chairman Tim Sykes added: "Sky is exploiting its monopoly position at the expense of local pubs and their customers."

But Sky insisted its prices haven't gone up since last September.

A spokesman said: "Trading conditions are difficult for landlords, with rising utility bills and drinks prices and the credit crunch and smoking ban reducing customer demand.

"To assist publicans, we've kept our prices frozen at the September 2007 level."

Sky claims its 40,000 commercial subscribers are not a profitable part of the business.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 16, 2008
Words:239
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