Sky high charges are left up in the air

Derry’s pubs and clubs are waiting with bated breath to see if Sky’s monopoly on showing live football in the UK is to be broken.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s organisation is fighting a European Court of Justice ruling that Sky should not be able to ban customers from using cheaper foreign satellite equipment to show English Premier League matches following a case brought by Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy.

Derry publican Brendan Duddy, who owns the Strand Bar and Rafters, in the city says the broadcaster has only itself to blame for charging business extortionate rates to screen matches here.

“For years Sky have got away with charging huge amounts of money to show matches and for some it costs between £12,000 and £30,000 a year,” he said. “You have to sell an awful lot of beer to cover those costs.

“It’s a no-brainer that if we can get those matches for a lot less money, then we are going to do it.

“Matches at three and five on a Saturday are always going to be very popular.

“If the ruling goes the right way then the pubs are going to win and the fans are going to win.”

Sky currently bases its charges to pubs on business rates which means in Mr Duddy’s case, with a city centre pub, he is charged the top rate.

“Sky will only have themselves to blame if the ruling goes against them in the EU after charging businesses so much for so long.”