By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw International Sports Lawyer
English football – not least, the English Premier League – is popular throughout the world, and the three lower English Leagues, comprising the Championship and Leagues 1 & 2, also has a growing following abroad.
To meet the needs of and take advantage of this overseas fan base, the English Football League (EFL), comprising the above-mentioned three club divisions below the top tier English Premier League, is launching a new live-streaming and content platform. This platform has been developed by the video technology company, ‘NeuLion’ and the UK-based digital agency ‘Realise’.
The ‘iFollow’ platform will enable supporters, based outside the UK and Ireland, to watch up to 46 live matches per club during each season. The new platform will show every EFL League match live, unless that particular match has been selected to be shown by the overseas broadcast partners of the EFL.
The cost to subscribers per season will be £110 (€130).
The EFL has 72 clubs of which 61 of them have signed up for this new service.
The Chief Executive of EFL, Shaun Harvey, has described the new platform in the following terms:
“The new iFollow platform represents a potentially significant new revenue stream for clubs, while enabling enhanced engagement with existing fans now living abroad.
iFollow will also present the EFL with an important opportunity to stimulate the interest of new groups of supporters who follow our clubs overseas, which in turn will help to support the growth of our competitions on the international stage.”
It has been well said that ‘sport and TV are a marriage made in heaven’ and the EFL is taking full advantage of this in launching its new digital venture, which will be available from the beginning of the new 2017-18 season.
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’