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Pubs no longer reaching for the Sky!

The soaring cost of Sky subscriptions - £13,000 per annum - has resulted in 20 per cent of bars abandoning the service over the past five years, according to pub trade group ALMR, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, reports The Observer.

"Watching a big game in the local with a group of friends is as close to being there as you can get," said Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR. "It's also the only place fans can watch live Premiership action for free. This pleasure is being threatened by Sky's relentless price rises."

Vince Healy, the managing director of Ascot Inns, a small chain of five pubs, has cancelled his Sky subscription in some bars because of the cost. "If the price of lager since 1996 had risen at the same rate as pub Sky subscriptions, we would be paying more than £9 for a pint," he claims.

"You have to sell a lot of beer to cover this extra cost so in these difficult economic times businesses are having to pass this on," said Bish.

A Sky spokesman insisted the company's service for pubs had not gone up since September. He said: "Trading conditions are difficult for landlords, with rising utility bills and drinks prices and the credit crunch and smoking ban reducing customer demand. To assist publicans, we've kept our prices frozen at the September 2007 level."

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