Hospitality body anger over Sky and BT’s ‘crippling’ hikes

Hospitality Ulster chief Colin Neill
Hospitality Ulster chief Colin Neill

Hospitality Ulster has hit out at the announcements by both BT Sport and Sky that they are to hike the price of their subscription services at a time when the pubs here cannot afford another additional bill.

The comments come as BT Sport announced a 8.9 per cent increase to its subscription price to come in from 1st September following a move by Sky last month increasing rates by 10 per cent.

The average monthly price for BT Sport for an independent pub will increase by £35 a month to £430, whilst many pubs pay up to £1,500 per month for Sky subscription. In addition the organisation says businesses have two bills to pay as many major events are spread across both services.

“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% increase in their TV subscriptions,” said CEO Colin Neill.

“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.”

“The simple fact is, both Sky and BT don’t seem to care, but we will do everything in our power to make them listen.”