Sports fans kick SKY to touch over Fan Pass price hike

Sky 3D cameras in action during an England v New Zealand match at Twickenham (Getty)
Sky 3D cameras in action during an England v New Zealand match at Twickenham (Getty)

Sports fans are livid over SKY's decision to hike the price of its Fan Pass service, whilst cutting subscription options.

Earlier this week the television giant, which has a near monopoly on the broadcast of many sports in New Zealand, said daily and weekly passes to its two-year-old online service would no longer be sold. Day passes went for $15 and weekly, $20.

From May 24, the monthly subscription for Fan Pass will go from $60 to $100.

"Netflix doesn't allow you to come in on a Saturday, binge view House of Cards and then disconnect," SKY chief executive John Fellet said, defending the company's decision.

But many Kiwi sports fans have taken to social media to say they'll just use pirated streams, rather than pay SKY's new prices.

A post on the New Zealand section of popular site Reddit had more than 280 comments as of Saturday afternoon, virtually none of them defending SKY.

"Congrats Sky, you just turned me back into an illegal streamer instead of a paying subscriber," wrote user BSnapZ.

"I was a streamer, then I started using fanpass a bit, now it's back to the streams. Idiots," added brownlee8mybaby.

"It's like Sky are now seeing their own product as an enemy to their subscription service," wrote pictureofacat. "Instead of embracing the shift towards internet-based streaming, they're doing everything they can to protect their dying, outdated platform."

Reaction on Twitter was just as negative. Blogger and host of Maori TV's Media Take Russell Brown said SKY was "basically murdering" its online sports service, whilst making its Sky Go service "harder to use than ever".

"I was honestly considering a monthly pass on Fanpass to watch the Lions tour. Not anymore," wrote user Pseudony_Ms.

Gavin Odgen summed up his feelings in a Star Wars gif.

Spinoff chief and media commentator Duncan Grieve said SKY's plan appears to be to "obstinately stick to the distribution method it came into the world with three decades ago".

"The customer experience of watching whatever, wherever and whenever you want on any device with a slick accessible interface is a huge part of the appeal. And no amount of price-ratcheting will change that."

He pointed out SKY's normal sports package is $20 cheaper than Fan Pass will be.