Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey says that Football League clubs receive up to 80% of the revenue from live streaming of games and the League is keen to ensure live attendances are not affected.
Harvey says that clubs such as Vale will receive up to 80% of the £10 fee charged. And that’s nearly as good as gambling online with a casino bonus. He also revealed that across the Football League there have been a total of 130,000 live video streams across EFL matches (including 80,000 from overseas, and 50,000 UK viewers).
What is iFollow live streaming?
This season has seen a number of innovations in the way fans can follow their clubs. The iFollow service (available from official Football League club websites) had previously allowed fans overseas to watch games for a small fee.
This season it has also allowed fans from all parts of the UK to live stream selected midweek and weekend games for a £10 fee. Despite teething problems on the opening game of the season, the service has generally proved popular with supporters.
As an exiled fan in the UK I am one of those for whom the iFollow service has been a real benefit. Despite one opinionated local commentator branding me and others a “disgrace” for having the temerity to live within the UK and not travel to a midweek Vale game, I feel I am helping the club by paying and tuning in.
My circumstances are that I do not get home to Aylesbury from work till around 6:30pm. This makes it physically impossible to make the two hour drive to Vale Park in time. And that’s not taking into account that my children need trips to evening clubs such as cadets and cubs. As my wife also works some evenings, it’s hardly a “disgrace” that I don’t opt to drive up to Burslem but instead sensibly decide to look after my children instead. If I can do that while watching the Vale in action then all the better. I see it as part of my kids’ “Vale education”…
In previous seasons, the club would have felt my midweek absence financially. But now at least I know that they are getting about £8 of my £10 fee for watching the game. With iFollow tapping into the audience who can’t get to games it is providing valuable revenue to clubs like Vale. In addition to UK exiles, the club is also receiving money from overseas fans which is another group who in previous years simply would not be able to physically attend and give money to the club.
So, in my view, as long as it remains the occasional game and doesn’t encrouch on the regular Saturday 3pm fixtures then I don’t think it will affect attendances. I believe it’s a great move to allow people who otherwise could not see the game to follow their club and it also benefits the club financially.