MANCHESTER: England’s Football League, which includes the second tier Championship, is considering introducing pay-per-view live-streams of their games for international fans.
The introduction of new technology at the 72 stadiums across the three divisions of the Football League this season allows for real-time broadcasting from all games for the first time.
“This technology would allow us to stream games, subject to all the rights, overseas at the time they are being played,” Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey told a meeting at the Soccerex convention.
“We could widen our stadiums to screens all over the world. What additional income does that generate for the Football League? That is an evaluation that we are going through at the moment,” he said.
The Championship includes a number of clubs with significant fan-bases including internationally-known teams like Leeds United and Nottingham Forest and sides recently relegated from the Premier League like Fulham and Burnley.
Speaking to Reuters on the margins of the meeting, Harvey said pay-per-view streaming could run alongside the league's existing global television deals.
“It is something that is part of the overall development plan of what we are doing. It is something that is at least two seasons away, purely on the basis of where our international rights sales are at this moment in time but it is a very realistic possibility thereafter,” he said.
“You would have an opportunity of being able to watch your club live anywhere in the world. What we have to balance that off against is what would the potential loss be in overseas sales rights for the league as a whole but there is every suggestion that would work,” added Harvey.
The league recently conducted an online survey called ‘Stand up and be counted’ which aimed to register fans of the league around the world and they are looking at which countries would present the best opportunities for the service. “The research is under way, this isn’t going to happen by chance,” said Harvey.
ITN productions, which earlier this year signed a three-year deal to deliver footage of Football League games to Channel Five for their domestic Saturday night highlights show, has introduced the technology that makes global streaming possible. — Reuters
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