Well, streaming is here in the National League, and Gloverscast Ben has been exploring.

Ryan Reynolds and that other bloke who owns Wrexham, threw enough toys out of their pram and now, anyone in the world can dial in to watch their beloved National League side.

For the cost of a Motorway Services Meal Deal, I can, from the comfort of my own sofa, log into a site and watch the Glovers in action, and that’s exactly what I did on Saturday as Yeovil hosted Scunthorpe United.

I’ve long been a sceptic of streaming at this level, but I accept there are pros and cons to this, so I thought I’d jot a few down.

As ever, let us know what you think and how you think it’ll change (if at all) how you consume Yeovil Town matches.


The Pros

1) First of all, the entire process of signing up, pledging my allegiance to Yeovil and parting with my £4.75 via PayPal was all very easy.

2) The quality of image, audio and graphics were pretty good.

That’s a good start, we saw during the lockdown days that not every side has great coverage.

We at Yeovil had a ball tracking camera at one point which focused in on a bald lino’s noggin once or twice, but that isn’t the case here.

The camera operator might need a spirit level as it looked a little wonky at times, but there’s was some nice graphics, even a replay or two and at half time we were treated to an ‘as it stands’ table.

There’s clearly some sort of work going on externally, quite possibly a director and someone working on the games, which, is a pretty good effort from the National League.

3) I bought a ticket! That means that 60% of my £4.75 (£2.85) has gone into the club coffers. I wonder what they’ll spend it on?

In all seriousness, I wouldn’t have given the club a penny to consume that game before hand. All three Gloverscasters bought a stream. This will prove to be an extra revenue stream. (Hold that thought, we’ll come back to it later)

4) It got me thinking about who else might have purchased who may not have otherwise done so.

Friend of the pod, Elliot Watts said his grandad was set up with a stream, he wouldn’t have otherwise made the game and now he’s given the club £2.75.

How many grandads wouldn’t have fancied the cold today? How many are poorly and find mobility difficult? How many people miss out because of Somerset’s horrendous public transport systems in and around the towns and villages? How many exiles would have dialled in? How many people are working and finish too late to get to HP?

Those numbers might be difficult to quantify straight away, but I know those people listed above all exist and probably in not insignificant hoards.

Those people now need to be targeted, advertised to, helped, guided, shown how easy it is to access. For every Watts’ grandad, you need an Elliot to set things up. #BeMoreElliot

5) I was fearful of the audio. I didn’t know what we might get. Would it be something generic or just stadium ambience? It was actually really good to have BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins on commentary and ex-Glovers’ keeper Chris Weale summarising.

The audio was in sync too which was good.

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the BBC Somerset team and both Ian and I know how much effort goes in to providing those without eyes on Huish Park good enough coverage on match days (and beyond).

It’s vital that a club like Yeovil has good local coverage from media outlets, we should protect it, support it and ensure we don’t let it become a secondary aspect of how we consume YTFC as a whole.


The Cons

1) I’m reliably informed it was really cold today. England were on the telly in the evening. Christmas shopping needs to be done. There was a chance the game might not be on. Fuel costs a fortune too.

That’s a lot of reasons to think…. nah, I’ll skip the game, watch online and go about other errands.

So if “Joe Bloggs” from just outside Yeovil likes to go to the game occasionally, but didn’t today… Yeovil Town have gone from getting 100% of an £18 ticket, plus maybe a sold programme, or a pie or a pint… old Bloggsy (as his mates call him) has now given the Glovers £2.75 rather than £27.50 ish… that’s quite a drop, multiply that equation by however many and that’s a massive shortfall.

It’ll take ten additional streams to make up for one Joe Bloggs…

That’s a massive challenge for every club at this level – what are you going to do to make a trip to Huish Park special?

Without trying to answer my own question (Hi CleaveO), the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust got 300+ kids at the game today, the England game was being shown in the Alec Stock lounge… there was a sense of ‘Match Day Experience’.

This has NEVER been more vital.

We can go deep into ticket prices, offers, loyalty schemes, quality of football, but, the crux of it is, should people stop physically going, this whole thing will be the end of football at this level.

I could ramble on here about people being physically present leads to a better atmosphere, a sense of belonging, helping your side earn a point, suck in the winner in the last minute, none of those things are tangible, but they matter.

What about getting volunteers? Who will volunteer to sell the programmes, or man the tea bars, or sell the golden gambles, or donate to the excellent Food Bank initiative if no one actually attends?

Physical presence matters. Big time.

2) Scunthorpe fans gave Yeovil Town next to nothing today.

The away crowds are an underestimated part of all this.

I’d bet that more Scunthorpe fans saw the game than would have done normally, ok, that’s cool. But how much easier do the excuses come for an away fan to not make the journey?

Scunthorpe is a long way from Yeovil. That’s a lot of fuel, a lot of time, a lot of effort… to watch a 0-0.

If even one Scunthorpe fan chose stream over travel, then Yeovil Town has lost out on 100% of that potential revenue. With just a tiny portion of a Scunny stream purchase going to be split among all 72 clubs.

Scunthorpe made their £2.75 (60% of the £4.75 stream fee), but with just 25% (£1.18) set aside for the big pot to be shared. And then taking that and splitting it 70/30 for National League/NL N&S… means Yeovil got… an equal share of 82 pence, which when divided by 23 other sides in the division gives Yeovil… 3.5 pence.

(I HATE MATHS)

Scunthorpe might be a long way away, but what about Torquay? What if they don’t sell 500 tickets, they only sell 400, because 100 would rather watch the stream?

I’m not going to do any more maths, but thats a lot of people to go from spending a minimum of £18 at Huish Park to 3.5 pence.

Now, this goes both ways of course.

I’ll watch the Barnet game on Tuesday, I wouldn’t have otherwise gone.

I’ll give Yeovil Town another £2.75. I’ll give Barnet 3.5 pence.

Will there be enough Gloverscast Bens to make up for the lack of Joe Bloggs? Only time will tell.


In conclusion

You can see the challenges that will occur, the pressure is now on clubs at our level to make sure the right people attend the game in good enough numbers whilst targeting stream viewers as extra revenue.

Can the club get a stream sponsor? Can they make sure those who have advertising boards REALLY appreciate how many extra eyes will see their product and their logo – look at the screenshots in this article, you can see, Westbury Packaging, Hellier Group, Garador, Jurrasic Fibre, Thatchers and more.

It’s worth noting that the stream figures above will double the other side of Christmas, the £4.75 fee is a half price offer to start things off.

It’s going to be a fascinating ride and I’m really not sure how it’ll all play out.

I’m fearful of the next big expected away crowd, if numbers start to drop, we could be in for a turbulent time, we’ve already heard the term ‘balancing the books’ from the manager.

The way the revenue is split, there are obviously a few clubs who will benefit more than most (Prynhawn da cefnogwyr, Wrecsam), the gap between top and bottom will only grow and those sides who get into the regional divisons below will have an even mightier task to provide a service.

There’s a huge lack of fairness here, especially half way through a season – I thought that every penny this season should have all gone into one pot to be split 72 ways.

If a side has already had its “big” days out away somewhere, those additional streams of fans who haven’t travelled have been lost.

How many Yeovil fans would have dialled into the game at Notts County for example, putting their couple quid into the pot at the same time?

Is streaming a good thing?

I’ll answer hypocritically – for me, yes, absolutely.

For Yeovil Town… I’m cautiously concerned.

 


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