Charlton fans want live streaming to continue

The introduction of live streaming of all matches in 2019/20 was born of necessity. Our club rose to the occasion with the launch of Charlton TV - a superior and engaging product compared to the standard i-Follow service. The pre-match chats hosted by Scott Minto with Alan Curbishley and guests provided a really enjoyable blast from the past, sometimes compensating for the actual match experience. Steve Brown added insight and a touch of verbosity to the commentaries alongside stalwart fans Terry Smith, Greg Stubley and others.

The club have already confirmed that the service will continue at the same level of high production values in the coming season, with the pre-match build-up offered free for UK and Ireland fans. Addicks based overseas can then access live streaming of the match by purchasing a Charlton TV season ticket or match pass.

Under normal circumstances, the EFL broadcast arrangements in place with Sky prohibit live streaming in the UK and Ireland of matches kicking off at 3pm on Saturday so, providing Covid restrictions are lifted, only sound commentary will be available for fans based in the British Isles. There is some debate on whether these conditions could be addressed now that the live streaming genie is out of the bottle. CAST therefore asked about live streaming in our recent survey.

The survey took place between 20th May and 1st June and received 1462 responses – you can read more about general findings here:

68% of respondents watched more than half of season 2019/20 matches on Valley Pass/ Charlton TV (31% watched all of them). Only 10% did not watch any at all.

The product was overwhelmingly popular with Charlton fans and three quarters are in favour of live streaming continuing:

  • 91% (59% strongly) agree that Charlton TV is top quality
  • 86% (46% strongly) agree that live streaming helps them feel engaged with Charlton
  • 85% (41% strongly) think £10 per match is good value for the live stream
  • 74% (40% strongly) really hope live streaming of all matches will continue

Charlton fans are not impervious to the issues surrounding live streaming although only 20% agreed that it is bad for the future of football. Opinion was split when asked hypothetically about the potential impact on match attendance in general. However, interestingly, when a more personal question was asked about the preference for attending a match rather than watching on stream, the resounding majority would choose to be at the stadium:

  • 62% (18% strongly) disagree that live streaming is bad for the future of football (18% "don't know")
  • 40% disagree that live streaming negatively impacts matchday attendance. However, 36% do agree.
  • 92% (64% strongly) agree they much prefer to attend the match than watch on live stream

We will share these results with the club and will contribute the views of Addicks to this debate via the FSA (Football Supporters’ Association). We recognise the need for a lot more research on and discussion about the detrimental effect that lifting the 3pm blackout might have on non-league and grassroots football but, in CAST's opinion, there is an opportunity for live streaming to enhance fans’ engagement with their club by watching more matches across a season. We don't think this would have any significant adverse impact on our own matchday attendances, especially in Leagues 1 and 2 where few matches are selected for Sky coverage. ~Instead there is an opportunity for clubs to increase their revenue by several hundreds of thousands of pounds, simply by a decent proportion of fans paying £10 to watch a live-stream of a match which they would not otherwise have attended. Of course, a suitable model would need to be agreed regarding the share of funds between home and away clubs for mutual benefit. Renegotiation of the broadcast deal and resolving the dilemma of the 3pm Saturday blackout remain high hurdles. CAST intends to play a full part in the ongoing debate and, as usual, we invite your opinions to