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Club News

iFOLLOW: Update number 4

United fans backing the Blues via the online streaming service

26 February 2021

Our fourth iFollow update covers the period up to and including matches played on 25 February 2021 and covering the last home fixture against Tranmere.

Despite the interrupted schedule the service continues to show growth and record numbers.

Headlines

  • Over 25,000 paid streams in total (after 26 games).
  • Average income per game both home and away continues to rise.
  • Total income earned after 26 games so far is now £195,000.
  • Remain second in League Two for home paid streams per game, and sixth for away paid streams this season.
  • New home record of 1,422 for the game against Exeter.
  • New away record of 1,798 for the game at Harrogate.

As stated in our first review back in October, the lockout restrictions faced by clubs mean that the EFL Digital iFollow streaming service was important.

Once again we find that the return of fans is delayed, and that means that iFollow becomes even more important to the club, both financially and as a way of maintaining support and connection with the players and team.

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Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “December was a record month, and records were beaten again in January and February despite the interrupted schedule. 

“Our fans are showing more and more support for the team through the iFollow service.”

“Although fans couldn’t be with us at games in the period, they were there in spirit in bigger and bigger numbers. It is no substitute for live action in person, but it continues to make a real difference.

“For the Harrogate game we also recorded our highest away streams so far.

“We are pleased there have been no major issues in terms of the service, and that people have stuck with us despite the postponements.”

Updating on the benefit to the club of fans using this service, he told us: “We’ve now had a total of 25,777 (18,552 after 21 games) paid streams from our 26 League Two games so far.

“This gives income to the club of around £195,000, after adjusting for payments to host clubs when we play away.

“That’s an average of 1,074 paid club streams per game (883 after 21 games). The average number has still grown 26% since game 21.

To subscribe for the next home game against Oldham Athletic click HERE.

“With fans now locked out for the rest of the season we expect the average number of home paid streams continue to grow towards 1,000. It remains a really important factor with our other income revenue streams stopped again.”

“There is finally some light at the end of the tunnel with the roll out of the Coronavirus vaccine and falling infection numbers but, as every week and month passes, the financial cost and club losses get bigger and bigger,” he continued. “The effects of Covid on everyone gets worse as time goes on, so the support is brilliant.  

“With two games every week for a long time now, the cost to each fan of watching every game soon starts to mount up. So a big thank you goes to everyone who is backing the team.”

“Pirate streaming continues to be a problem” he concluded. “We therefore continue to appeal to fans to back the team and use the official iFollow service only.”

A reminder of the EFL anti-piracy campaign is HERE.

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We now have the data from 26 League Two matches for our iFollow UK streams - 13 at home and 13 away. 

The UK paid subscriptions are as follows:

Home games

The number of paid UK domestic streams has grown to a peak of 1,422 (1,118 previous peak) for the Exeter win.

The 13 homes have now seen a total of 12,377 paid streams by United fans (excluding the 300 season ticket holders at Behind Closed Doors games).

We remain ranked second behind Bolton in League Two for the highest average number of paid home streams per game, at 952 (some clubs have very high numbers of free home passes given to season ticket holders, meaning paid home streams are low).

Home paid streams have now earned us around £140,000, up from £100,000 - including the payments to us from the away teams at home games - so far, at £10,700 per home game (£10,000 after 10 games).

Away games

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.

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 13 away games so far, 13,400 (10,181 after 11) fans have streamed, and this is compared to a typical expected CUFC attendance at away games of around 5,200. That is more than double, as more fans watching away games on ifollow than would normally attend live.

We remain sixth in League Two for the highest average paid away streams per game, of 1,031 (up +11% from 926 since December).

Our away game streams have grown consistently and reached a peak of 1,798 for our game at Harrogate. This was up +37% up on the previous game. We are now breaking the 1,400 barrier for every away game.

This is earning us on average around £4,250 per away game (£3,400 after 11), after our payment to the home teams, and it continues to grow.

ifollow

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.

To read the third update from January click HERE.


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