The first full round of EFL midweek fixtures to be streamed in the UK and Ireland took place earlier this week, with 24 matches streamed to supporters via EFL clubs’ iFollow service.
Whilst nothing beats the experience of being inside a stadium and feeling the atmosphere of a buoyant crowd, supporters of EFL clubs up and down the country — who otherwise would only have access to commentary or be able keep track of the score — were able to enjoy the full 90 minutes from the comfort of their own home.
One of those supporters was Daniel Nice, a Leicester-based Doncaster Rovers supporter, who due to work commitments, couldn’t make the trip to the Keepmoat Stadium to cheer on his hometown club.
Ninety minutes of Sky Bet League One action was streamed directly to his laptop as Grant McCann’s side were held to a 0-0 draw against Shrewsbury Town.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea. For someone like myself who doesn’t live in the area of their supported team anymore, it gives me an opportunity to continue to follow Doncaster Rovers,” explained Dan.
“I actually got back home from work quite late and was worried I would miss the start of the game, but the sign-up process was quick and easy, and within five minutes I had the match available to watch.”
The iFollow platform was the only place to live stream fixtures in Sky Bet League One and League Two, with all eligible fixtures available throughout the season on a match-by-match basis at a cost of just £10.
Whilst attending the game in person is always a priority for Dan, iFollow represents the next best value-for-money option.
“I think the price for the service is quite fair overall. I often attend fixtures with my dad, and if you total the price of tickets with the cost in petrol it far exceeds the money I paid to watch the game on iFollow.
“We always aim to attend as many matches as possible, but sometimes it is simply not possible for one reason or another. The next midweek game available on the service is our trip to Accrington Stanley, which I am already making plans to go to.
“I am based in Leicester and work in the sports industry so sometimes schedules can overlap - there is definitely a case to say some fans are being connected to their club again through this service, when otherwise they would struggle to follow.”
Outside of his love for Doncaster Rovers, Dan works as the Communications Manager for Leicestershire County Cricket Club, and interestingly enough has first-hand experience at providing a streaming service for supporters.
At the start of the cricket season, the Foxes experimented with their own service to allow supporters to watch County Cricket fixtures online, and it is something which has been a huge success.
“Our main objective was to trial the idea of a streaming service to supporters and we found that it didn’t have an impact on attendances and in fact opened the club to a potentially new fan base.
“I believe supporters will always prefer going to a game in person as nothing can compare to that, but the iFollow service is available for supporters who cannot attend every week but still want to keep track as much as they can.
“I think the next match I’ll be watching via the iFollow platform will be against Sunderland in October, barring any fixture changes. I enjoyed the experience and look forward to following Rovers again throughout the season.”
Match passes for those based in the UK are available for £10 per game. If this week’s coverage has whet your appetite, you can sign up to iFollow, either as a domestic or overseas subscriber, by clicking here.