Premier League ISP Blocking Order Renewed as Legal Options Dwindle

Written by Bill Toulas
Published on September 3, 2020

The Premier League has renewed the High Court-issued order that compels ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in the United Kingdom to abide by the blocking instructions of the football league organization. This is the same thing they did in 2018, and again in 2019. The most recent court order covers the 2020-2021 season.

So, this means that any pirate streams broadcasting Premier League matches will be blocked at the ISP level, leaving viewers with few choices, and often, none.

You see, the whole COVID-19 situation has formed a very different landscape compared to what was the case in the previous years. The games will be held without fans in the stands, and according to the broadcasting rights arrangements that have been made thus far, 160 of the 380 top-tier games will not be televised by UK media at all. This means that even if they wanted to pay for legal content access, fans in the UK wouldn’t have any way to watch these games.

To make matters worse, there’s severe fragmentation on the games that are planned for TV coverage. Sky Sports, BT Sport, and Amazon Prime have secured rights for different games, so one would have to pay £100 per month to access a wide range of PL football matches. Pirate ISP services pose as the obvious alternative, bringing everything under a single platform and also offering access to non-televised games by drawing broadcasts from foreign channels covering them.

Of course, pirate IPTV services are illegal, and wanting to watch a football match isn’t a good enough of an excuse to subscribe to these services. However, it is beyond any doubt that leaving gaps in sports event coverage is like practically pushing people towards piracy.

As an anonymous IPTV provider told TorrentFreak:

“All the games will be available through different providers, which will almost definitely increase the number of people using illicit options. It’s almost like the Premier League is trying to make more people use illicit options. Illegal IPTV providers will use the legitimate sites to take the streams and redistribute them either via the original source URL or they will simply use HDMI encoders to do so.

There’s still time for the Premier League to look into this problem and take last-moment actions to help turn things around, but this is far from being a simple matter. Considering their unwavering stance all these years, seeing a “revolutionary” approach like setting up an official online football portal to cover the gaps is not likely to happen.

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