Football clubs learn more about live broadcasting and upscaling fan engagement

by | Sep 15, 2021

A webinar detailing how non-league football clubs can benefit from pay-per-view live online broadcasting and video-on-demand is now available to watch back.

The webinar was delivered in partnership with the Southern Football League, as part of TicketCo Media Service’s Media Rights deal with the league. Attended by clubs operating at all levels of the non-league football pyramid, the 38-minute show explained the basics of streaming before questions were opened to the floor.

It was hosted by freelance football journalist and commentator Matthew Mesiano and the panel comprised of Jason Mills, Operations Director of the Southern Football League, and David Kenny, Vice President of Greenfield Sales at TicketCo Media Services.

Here, we round-up what clubs learnt during the webinar. You can also watch the webinar in full at the bottom of this article.

The new normal

Supporters’ demand for pay-per-view football has undoubtedly been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unable to host fans due to strict social restrictions, clubs broadcast games online through the 2020-21 season so supporters could continue to watch their team play from the safety of their own homes.

This pivot in how people viewed matches unlocked a new revenue stream and engagement opportunities for clubs.

Jason Mills explained: “The pandemic raised our eyebrows concerning what we could do to further support clubs. We are really impressed with the broadcasting capabilities of TicketCo Media Services streaming platform.

“TicketCo offer supporters a variety of ways to stay connected with their team by watching matches they would not otherwise be able to attend due to health, travel or financial complications.”

Fresh opportunity

By broadcasting fixtures through TicketCo Media Services, clubs can take full control of their digital output.

This means they can invest as little or as much as they wish in hardware and software equipment to provide supporters with a HD quality stream.

Clubs also set their own admission prices and can upsell additional products such as digital programmes, team merchandise, plus food and drink while supporters are in the ‘buying mood’.

“The Southern Football League has been extremely innovative by allowing clubs to broadcast fixtures and make games available on-demand,” said David Kenny of TicketCo.

“During lockdown, clubs were achieving viewing figures which matched their average attendance from the previous season. Some even bettered attendances through the power of streaming by welcoming additional away fans and supporters on a global scale.”

The restrictions

Under current regulations, football clubs are unable to broadcast most fixtures between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday afternoons.

So, why should clubs invest hundreds of pounds in equipment when not all games can be streamed live online? Jason explained several broadcasting options for clubs while the Southern League campaigns for UEFA’s blanket ban on streaming non-league matches to be lifted.

They include:

  • Making games available on demand.
  • Changing kick-off times.
  • Broadcasting mid-week fixtures live.
  • Broadcasting games to supporters outside the UK (where the blackout rule does not apply).

“The blackout was introduced in the 1960s to prevent people from not attending matches and instead deciding to tune in at home,” said Jason. “To me, it is clear this narrative does not apply to non-league football.

“Southern League clubs should be allowed to broadcast all games to domestic audiences to upscale fan engagement and source additional income.”

READ MORE: The ultimate streaming guide for non-league football clubs in 2021-22

Southern League partnership

In July, the Southern Football League announced a multi-year media rights partnership with TicketCo Media Services to allow clubs to take control of their own broadcasting.

The league level agreement means Southern League teams who broadcast matches via TicketCo are entitled to a special 9% rate where clubs receive £91 for every £100, they generate through pay-per-view streaming.

David added: “Any sports club who signs up with TicketCo will be automatically contacted by our customer success team.

“They will run each club through our system – step-by-step – to cover how the platform works and answer any queries they might have. There are no contracts or hidden costs, this is pay as you go simplistic live streaming.”

Streaming with TicketCo

By connecting the paywall to your broadcasting software, TicketCo Media Services platform allows clubs to broadcast fixtures securely where streaming keys cannot be shared.

Clubs should be aware that TicketCo does not handle filming. However, David explained clubs can be referred to a selection of trusted providers.

“Each client has their own preferred way of broadcasting,” said David. “Some choose to film themselves, others bring in professional filming teams.

“Our partners include Brighton-based Latest TV, former producers of the TerraPura Non-League Show. We’re a secure platform too. One purchase means one viewer, fans cannot share streams.

“The data clubs automatically receive can help them understand their fanbase too as they will be able to see where people are viewing the game from.”

Q&A

The webinar concluded with an open question and answer session where viewers were able to submit their own queries to put to the panel.

Questions included:

  • How much should supporters pay to watch matches online?
  • What are fans’ expectations concerning quality and viewing experience?
  • Is 4G internet connection sufficient to live stream matches?
  • What are the benefits to joining TicketCo when there are other providers available?

Catch up now!

If you missed Monday evening’s webinar, you can watch the full discussion between Matthew, Jason and David via our YouTube channel now.

To learn more about how live streaming and making fixtures available to watch on-demand can benefit your club, visit Live streaming for non-league sport clubs – YouTube.

Details about additional webinars will be posted on our website and social media channels soon.

Written by Shaun Reynolds

Communications advisor and expert storyteller with Fortitude Communications. A former news reporter and sports editor of five years across several UK regional titles. Experienced in photography and social media management with a passion for the outdoors.

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