Officials at the John Smith’s Stadium have pulled the plug on Sky TV after an “astronomical” five-fold rise in the cost.

Fans who turned up for Huddersfield Town’s game against Middlesbrough on Saturday found TVs tuned to terrestrial channels only.

There are TVs in the 42 executives boxes, on public concourses in all four stands and in bars and catering outlets around the stadium.

Notices put up around the ground apologised for the blank screens blaming “financial pressures.”

Now the Examiner can reveal how a sudden increase in the Sky subscription – imposed on all stadiums nationally – meant that stadium bosses pulled the plug.

The decision was backed by Town chairman Dean Hoyle and chief executive Nigel Clibbens.

Huddersfield Town v Leeds Utd Sky Bet Championship. John Smith's stadium, Huddersfield.Huddersfield Chairman, Dean Hoyle.

Gareth Davies, managing director of Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd (KSDL), which runs the stadium, said the cost had risen from less than £300 a month to more than £1,700 – equivalent of a staggering £20,000 a year.

Mr Davies described the rise as “astronomical” and added: “Sky have brought in, unilaterally, a new tiered pricing structure based on the size of stadiums.

“This increase was discussed at great length over a couple of board meetings of KSDL with full representation from the football club including Dean Hoyle and Nigel Clibbens.

“It was with great sadness that the board unanimously decided that it could no longer afford to keep funding Sky on a match day.”

The notice posted around the stadium on Saturday read: “In recent months the board of KSDL has considered the increasing financial pressures it faces.

Sky HD TV remote control
Sky HD TV remote control

“Like many businesses this has resulted in difficult choices being made.”

Mr Davies said the increase took place earlier this year and KSDL had paid out £6,000 which had not been budgeted for to give time for the board to consider its decision.

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He said both Town and Huddersfield Giants were looking at what they could do in the future.

Mr Davies said he would be interested to see how other stadiums responded to the increases.

Sky TV declined to make a comment on the record.