Last year saw the debut of live matches streamed on LUTV to overseas customers on an almost weekly basis, with almost all non-Sky broadcasts available to stream on a Pay-Per-View basis. Fans inside the UK and Ireland, however, were not able to view those matches.
That looks to be changing this year, as the EFL has announced that the iFollow service, or any in-house streaming service that clubs might use, will be available to stream some matches to UK and Ireland based customers.
Clubs, including Leeds, streamed league matches live to foreign countries last season but will be allowed to stream some in the UK and Ireland this season: pic.twitter.com/8eHvf1wc9B— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) June 21, 2018
Domestic and Irish fans of Leeds will now be able to see LUTV matches (legally) at home when the matches do not fall into the “blocked” times of Saturdays between 14.45-17.15. The streaming service will be available through the official Leeds United app or by connecting to LUTV on the club’s official website, leedsunited.com.
Last season saw the start of the iFollow service, the Football League’s overseas streaming service. Some clubs, such as Leeds, created their own in-house streaming options for overseas customers. The creation of the iFollow service, along with the the changes in how the streaming rights were made available to customers abroad, was seen as a game-changer for how fans were able to see the matches. Fans from overseas were able to view almost every single Football League match live last season, a huge change from previous years when only Sky TV matches were available. Of course, this also meant that it was easier to see your favourite Football League team live overseas than it was in the UK.
Sky Sports has typically shown a few Championship matches, but the amount of money that comes from the Football League’s deal with Sky is dwarfed by the huge sums of money that the Premier League has been able to command on the open market. The iFollow service has attempted to increase access to seeing matches live across the world.
Allowing domestic customers to stream matches outside of the traditional “window” would certainly make it easier for fans to see matches that they were not able to attend in person, such as mid-week matches to London or Wales for Leeds fans.
The take up of international streaming has been woeful this season. Our average audience was one of the best but was still below 2,000.— MikeT/AdrianTeakdesk (@Mike_J_Thornton) May 31, 2018
The costs are horrendous and it made no profit to talk of this year.
The amount of income that has been generated by the overseas streaming has not necessarily been as much as clubs would have wanted, but with the change to allow streaming to domestic customers clubs would hopefully be able to realize more profit than they have been able to this year. It also allows fans in the UK to utilize a legal way to see matches that previously weren’t available, as many dodgy, illegal streams pop for every match.
It will be interesting to see what change, if any, this new deal has on LUTV and on attendance and viewership of Leeds next season.