24 March 2014 09:45

Almost 80% of men in Cyprus watch local football every week but only half are subscribers to a private broadcaster according to a recent study.
Football is the island's most popular sport but 'high prices' for a paying subscription is reportedly putting people off prompting many to watch games away from their homes.
In a survey that targeted 1,000 men aged between 30 and 64, it was observed that 794 of them (79%) said that they watch at least one game of Cypriot football every week with most saying that they watch more than one game.
Meanwhile the same survey claimed that 53% of the men said that they were not subscribers to private television channels - that own the exclusive rights to live football matches in Cyprus unlike the free-to-air (FTA) networks - while the remaining 47% are subscribers to a private television platform.
When football viewers, who do not subscribe to a private television service provider, were asked why they do not get a subscription, 70% replied because it was "too costly".
Meanwhile, the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and its chairman Costakis Koutsokoumnis are pushing for a CFA platform to handle the television rights of football clubs and then evenly disburse the money amongst them.
Their proposal has received a luke-warm reaction particularly from the bigger clubs although the same study says most men would welcome such a move.
A total of 791 out of the 1,000 men polled said that they would be interested in subscribing to a CFA platform that would guarantee that they can access all first division, Cyprus Cup, national team games and even some second division games.
"There are some clubs in which television rights covers 80% of their budgets," said CFA boss Koutsokoumnis. "This revenue is crucial for the survival of the clubs and as the governing body for football we are obliged to safeguard them."
"But due to the current financial climate, this revenue has shrunk and this in turn has had a downward effect on the clubs… Football must get what it is due. The CFA does not wish to dabble in issues such as television rights but as things currently stand, it appears that it has no choice. We want only what's best for the clubs and the fans."
He added, "The CFA is not aiming to profit from this venture. The CFA has already informed the clubs what their percentage will be if they signed a deal with us covering the seasons between 2016 and 2019."
The main live football broadcasters in Cyprus are Cytavision and LTV although some rights are held by PrimeTel. CyBC and Sigma hold limited rights for some Champions League and Europa League games while CyBC has exclusive rights to major international football tournaments such as the European Championships and the World Cup.
The study, which was undertaken by Nicosia University, was presented by the former chairman of the Cyprus Sports Organisation (CSO) Nicos Kartakoullis.


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