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iFOLLOW: Subscriber numbers and income continue to grow

An update on our live match streaming service

4 December 2020

As we stated in our initial October review of the iFollow service, lockout restrictions faced by clubs mean that the EFL Digital iFollow streaming service is increasingly important, both in terms of bringing live action to the fans and for the vital revenue it provides.

At a time when we are still unable to welcome all of our fans back into our stadiums, iFollow has become a good method by which supporters can still back the club financially and support the team in spirit.

In the second update for October we reported some extremely encouraging figures coming from our ifollow streaming service. Click HERE to see that update.  

Speaking about the latest batch of figures, which include the midweek game against Salford, chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “Our fans are showing increased support for the team through the iFollow service.

“They want to be part of our match days and to be with the team in spirit, even if they still can’t be at the game in person.  

“It is no substitute for live action in person, as we saw on Wednesday when 2,000 fans were in Brunton Park, but it makes a real difference to us.

“Our best start since 2016/17, seeing a winning team that is creating chances and working very hard, with a never-say-die spirit, is good to watch.  

“The number of paid streams has continued to consistently grow with every game, which is great to see. With 2,000 fans now allowed at home games we expect to see a reduction in home subscriptions in the short-term.

“In the last month we broke through the 1,000 streams barrier for the first time. After a great week and a win on Wednesday, the next target is 1,200 – it would be great to break that on Saturday for the Bradford away game.”

Product

Key to the success of any service like this is reliability, durability and robustness.

“The feedback has been consistently improving with fewer issues reported as fans use it more,” he explained. “The negative experiences remain low but, that said, some fans had major problems for a short period at the start of the Cheltenham  game.

“We take service and quality very seriously, as does the EFL. Problems need to be avoided but, when they do occur, the response has to be right. I am pleased with the speed and response of EFL Digital in refunding fans or offering other game passes in recompense for the Cheltenham exprience. 

“I’m pleased to report this didn’t cost the club anything, which I know was a concern to fans. A lot of work continues behind the scenes to make sure it is continually improved and refined.”

Income

Speaking about the benefit to the club of fans using this service, he told us: “We’ve had a total of 12,454 paid streams from our 15 League Two games so far.

“This gives income to the club of around £89,000, after adjusting for payments to host clubs when we play away.

“That’s an average of 823 paid club streams per game (760 after nine games). The average number has grown 8% since game nine.

“On top of that, for every home game we have around 300 more season ticket holders who are also streaming the game [who have opted to take iFollow instead of a refund]. 

“The challenge in the last update was to break the 1,000 stream mark for the first time. We did it against both Cheltenham and Tranmere. Our record away stream so far is 1,020.

“With every passing game the financial cost builds up and the lasting effects of Covid on employment and business are growing, so the support is brilliant. Thank you.”

Get your Bradford iFollow live streaming pass HERE.

“Sadly we also know that ‘pirate’ streaming remains a problem, which is a concern,” he concluded. “Again, we appeal to fans to back the team and use the official iFollow service only.”

A reminder of the EFL anti-piracy campaign is HERE

+++++++

We now have the data from 15 League Two matches for our iFollow UK streams - seven at home and eight away. 

The UK paid subscriptions are as follows:

Home games

The number of paid UK domestic streams has grown to a peak of 1,070 for the last home game behind closed doors without fans (against Cheltenham).

The seven homes have now seen a total of 5,760 paid streams by United fans, plus the 300 season ticket holders per game.

We now rank second behind Bolton (we were third in October after the first four home games) in League Two for the highest number of paid home streams per game, at 823 (some clubs have very high numbers of free home passes given to season ticket holders, meaning paid home streams are low).

This has earned us around £67,000 - including the payments to us from the away teams - so far, at £9,600 per home game (£9,500 after four).

Home    
Southend United* 486  
Barrow* 961  
Colchester United 744  
Morecambe 898 21%
     
October 3,089  
Average streams 772  
Average income £9,600  
     
Newport County 860  
Cheltenham Town 1,070 24%
Salford* 741 -31%
     
November 2,671  
Average 890 15%
Average income £9,700 1%
     
Total so far 5,760  
Average 823 7%
Average income £9,700 1%

Away games

The iFollow streaming service allows UK based fans to get to see us play away from home, certainly more often than ever before. 

In the eight away games so far, 6,694 fans have streamed, and this is compared to an expected CUFC attendance at away games of around 3,200. As you can see, that is more than double. This is a major plus to come out of what has been an awful global situation – and obviously that is not taking away in any way at all from the seriousness of the pandemic.

All streams for away clubs are paid for. There are no iFollow codes available for season ticket holders, all those who wish to watch the game must purchase a match pass.

We remain ranked ninth (as we were in our last update) in League Two for the highest average paid away streams per game, of 837 (up +11% since October).

Away**    
Cambridge United 643  
Scunthorpe United 619  
Port Vale 684 11%
Oldham Athletic 847 24%
Grimsby Town 962 14%
     
October 3,755  
Average 751  
Average incomes £2,000  
     
Exeter City 984  
Crawley Town 935 -5%
Tranmere Rovers 1,020 9%
     
November 2,939  
Average 980 30%
Average income £3,800 90%
     
Total so far 6,694  
Average 837 11%
Average income £2,700 35%

Our away game streams have grown consistently with every match and reached a peak of 1,020 for our last away game at Tranmere. This was up +9% up on the previous game. We have finally broken the 1,000 barrier for away subscribers watching a game (the ninth League Two club to do so).

This is earning us on average around £2,700 per away game (after our payment to the home teams).

Notes

*numbers distorted by individual fixture factors – Southend and Salford very low as we had 1,000 and 2,000 fans in the stadium, and Barrow high due to the special interest in the game.

**The income from the first 500 streams bought by CUFC fans for away games (£8 x 500 = £4,000) is paid to the home club. But by the same mechanism we get the value of the first 500 from every away team coming to Brunton Park. Over the season the net effect of this is neutral, if we sell at least 500 streams per away game.

+ Eight clubs are giving free home passes to close to 1,000 season ticket holders each match.


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