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Online football games face audience blow

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Only two per cent of all adults would be willng to pay for live football, streamed on the internet, according to a new study. The research from YouGov and SMG Insight found that just 42 individuals of the 2,122 adults surveyed would pay to watch a live game via their home computers, with over 23 per cent stating they would watch the game in a communal setting, such as a pub or bar.

Currently, a number of providers offer live-streaming of football games. Subscribers to Sky Sports can watch games live, while Championship side Leeds United has begun to offer live streaming of home fixtures for fans of the club.

The research follows a number of high-profile internet-only games. In 2009, the World Cup qualifier between England and Ukraine was offered online as a pay-per-view service costing £11.99. At the time, many reacted badly to the experience of viewing a match on their computer.

“Settling down to watch any match, not in the pub, nor even in the sitting room, but in a study at home, perched on a stool over our computer, might yet take some getting used to,” wrote Caspar Llewellyn Smith in The Observer at the time.

Despite the new survey, a number of media providers have launched new services to coincide with the beginning of the new season. Search engine provider Yahoo has released a Premiership highlights service for fans, while Virgin Media unveiled ‘Sofa Stadium’; an iPhone app which allows social networking between football fans.

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