The Reposs Non-League Show backing streaming revolution
Live broadcasting has transformed the value of the Premier League and English Football League – and now non-league football can be part of the digital revolution.
For years, Premier League, Championship and League One and Two clubs have financially benefitted from multi-year media rights deals which enable fixtures to be broadcast to global audiences.
Global exposure attracts major commercial deals, funds of which alongside with media rights deals are distributed throughout football, positively impact clubs and communities.
David Square, host of Dave and Keith’s Reposs Non-League Show, believes semi-professional clubs across the UK are on the cusp of breaking new ground. It comes after the Southern Football League signed a multi-year media rights deal with TicketCo Media Services to make non-league football matches available online.
Taking control of Media Rights
Season after season, David has watched friends who support high-profile Premier League teams watch their clubs live via BBC, Sky Sports, BT Sport and other media companies.
In non-league this hasn’t been possible, until now. TicketCo Media Services live streaming technology is helping to make semi-professional football matches accessible to all.
“I live a stone’s throw from my local team Harlow Town FC,” said David. “I consider myself very fortunate to be able to go and watch every home game.
“But, if I suddenly had to move away due to work or couldn’t watch a match due to health or travel implications, I would be stuck. In that scenario, I would want to watch the game via a live stream and pay for the priviledge.
“I know Arsenal supporters that have moved to Manchester, but they suddenly don’t start supporting Manchester United or Manchester City. Importantly, they have the luxury of being able to watch Arsenal on TV most weeks.
“This process, for the first time, now applies to non-league football. Teams can take control of broadcasting matches and earn revenue from it. For me, it’s a no brainer – I see no negatives at all.”
UEFA confirmed its TV blackout rule preventing football matches hosted between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on selected Saturdays from being broadcast will return this season, following it temporary lifting during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Therefore, clubs cannot stream Saturday afternoon fixtures hosted between the restricted hours. But David doesn’t see this as being a barrier which will prevent clubs from streaming.
“Reinstalling the blackout ruling doesn’t have to be a snag,” added David. “Non-league football on-demand can become the new normal, I’m sure of it.
“In fact, I would be very surprised if it doesn’t take off. Not everyone can attend the match live or even commit to sitting in front of the TV at 3pm every Saturday.
“It is however plausible to watch the game later in the evening for a small fee either with or without knowing the result. I think fans would enjoy that functionality.”
Live streaming matches or making them available via on-demand allows clubs to further monetise fixtures beyond ticketing for those physically attending.
David insists clubs must be patient and allow time to grow online audiences, though.
“Clubs will need to be patient and allow time for their online audience to grow. Being realistic is important too,” said David.
“If your average gate is 200 fans, you’re not going to get 100 people tune into your live stream straight away – that’s unrealistic.
“Ultimately, if you don’t stream games or make them available on-demand, you are missing out on money and the opportunity for increased fan-engagement. You won’t need to invest in staff, non-league football is full of passionate volunteers like myself who love to support their club by providing a service free-of-charge in exchange for a matchday ticket.”
As a voluntary videographer at Harlow Town FC, David is hopeful his club will grant the green light for matches to be streamed this season.
He believes charging £5 per streaming ticket is a realistic fee that people would buy into. But a positive approach to streaming is a club’s most important asset.
“I urge clubs to be positive,” said David. “We can all have a glass-half-full attitude when we want, and this is the time.
“When I first read about TicketCo Media Services media rights deal with the Southern League I thought ‘at last’. The Southern Football League has realised the true value of live streaming on a professional level.
“Initially, you might have just 10 people watching your stream at £5 per ticket. Not huge numbers, but that’s £50 a week which could pay a player’s wages and help a team push towards promotion.
“Promoting your live stream correctly will see these figures grow and eventually you might have a steady audience of 50 digital viewers each contributing valuable money to the club.
“Set targets regarding how many people you want to be tuning in after 10 or 20 games and then review the process.”
Southern League Media Rights deal
For a decade Dave and Keith’s Reposs Non-League Show has covered all aspects of non-league football via its weekly podcast.
As many as 3,000 fans tune into each episode which previews games, reviews the previous weekend’s action and broadcasts exclusive interviews. Recent guests include Martin Tyler, Matt Le Tissier and Tony Gale.
David Kenny, Head of Global Partnerships at TicketCo Media Services, was the show’s latest guest.
He discussed our recent deal with the Southern Football League and the positive impact it will have on non-league clubs by allowing them to take full control of broadcasting.
David Square said: “It was great to have David Kenny from TicketCo Media Services on our latest D&K Reposs Non-League Show.
“David helped define how simple it is for clubs to stream games and highlighted the financial opportunities streaming can generate. We’re very excited to see how this progresses.”
The podcast has been uploaded to YouTube and can be viewed in full here.