The English Football League (EFL) is streaming its three millionth match this weekend, with the games providing a £20m lifeline to cash-strapped clubs. The League says it’s down to older fans learning how to use ipads in lockdown.
It’s only taken 11 months and three lockdowns, but older football fans have finally got the hang of the iPad and they have boosted the viewing figures for matches in the English Football League to almost three million live streams.
The EFL’s streaming service is expected to surpass that landmark figure if enough matches survive the big freeze this weekend.
Fans have been mostly banned from grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic since March.
And while the £20m of revenue generated by the 72 clubs in the Championship, Leagues One and Two from live streaming games is only a fraction of what they would have received if supporters were allowed to attend games, it is still an invaluable lifeline.
‘It has been a lifesaver,’ said Robbie Cowling, chairman at League Two Colchester United. ‘And it has grown.
‘We have noticed that older people are getting more involved. A lot of them are internet savvy. But where they don’t have great IT skills, we find that if they have to do it to follow their team, they find a way.
On average, supporters at an EFL game spend about £30 per head, but an EFL match pass is just £10. At Colchester, Cowling said he would take £54,000 from a home game against Bolton with gates open, but took just £8,000 via streaming earlier this season.