Colchester United Chairman Robbie Cowling has issued the following statement regarding iFollow live streaming:
Apologies but it’s me again. I wanted to ensure everyone was well briefed whilst the club was in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic and previously, that has required a statement from me about once every three weeks.
This is now my third in a single week so that shows just how manic everything is at the moment.
Anyway, I promise you we won’t be advancing to Government style daily briefings any time soon.
The reason for this update is to explain the club’s response to the issues we face with low streaming revenue whilst our stadium is having to stay closed on matchdays.
As I explained a week ago after the Bolton game, the home team keep all of the revenue for the streams they sell through their own iFollow and they also get the revenue for the first 500 that are bought via the away team’s iFollow.
At that time, I explained that we had sold 452 iFollow passes for the Bolton game so we kept all of the revenue from those and Bolton sold 2,252 iFollow passes so we received the revenue from the first 500 of those. That revenue is helpful so thank you to everyone who purchased a pass.
For last weekend’s away fixture against Barrow, we sold 514 iFollow passes, which encouragingly means that we saw a rise in purchases and that we got a bit of income for ourselves as well for going over 500. Once again, thank you to all that purchased one.
The challenge for us is to get those numbers up. With no revenue coming from our home games, we have a massive hole in our budgeted revenue so we need to work out how we can fill that hole by selling as many home and away iFollow passes as possible.
I fully understand that watching a streamed version of the game is nowhere near as good as watching it live and that will account for the fact that we might have sold 4,000+ match tickets for the Bolton game whereas we got the revenue from less than 1,000 buying iFollow.
However, that is not the only reason the numbers are lower. A family of three supporters can buy a single stream instead of three match tickets and six mates can all watch a single stream instead of buying six match tickets and who can blame them?
I could just beg you all to buy your own streams because it would be such a big help to the club in its time of need, but I’ve never been one for begging. Of course I would like that family of three to buy three iFollow passes and those six mates to buy six but I feel I must incentivise them to do so and give them something back. So this is how I plan to do it.
iFollow Loyal Supporter Tokens
Every time a Colchester United fan purchases an iFollow stream for a Colchester United match, they will be given an iFollow Loyal Supporter Token and each token will have a unique token number. The details of the tokens a fan has accumulated will be displayed on their dashboard when they log in to their account on www.colutickets.com.
Those fans that have purchased a Season Permit will be allocated with a an iFollow Loyal Supporter Token for each of the games covered by their permit regardless of whether they watch the game on iFollow or in attendance at the stadium once they are allowed.
One-Off Loyal Supporter Home Shirt
For our game against Southend on April 20th 2021, the team will be running out in a one-off home shirt and this shirt will never be put on general sale because no amount of actual money can buy this shirt. The only way to own this particular home shirt will be with twenty five personal iFollow Tokens.
At the end of the season, the eighteen one-off shirts that were actually worn in the game against Southend will be signed by the squad and these will be won by eighteen lucky fans whose iFollow Token Number is drawn in an end of season draw.
The one-off shirt will need to be selected from the Macron Catalogue. The club will select three versions from their standard range and over the Christmas period, we will create a system where fans can vote for the one we will actually wear. One iFollow Loyal Supporter Token will allow the token holder one vote. Therefore, a token holder who has accumulated fifteen tokens can have fifteen votes.
Other Loyal Supporter Merchandise
A few other items of club merchandise will also be created with the Loyal Supporter branding such as a scarf, a mug and a car sticker so that the majority of tokens can be converted into something to show that a fan supported its club during its time of need.
Wall of Honour
Any fan that buys every stream from now until the end of this season will also have their name on a tile that will be placed on a ‘Wall of Honour’ in the Legends bar, where it will remain for at least five seasons.
I hope you like this incentive. There’s lots of talk about the Government or the Premier League bailing the EFL out but I would like us to do everything we can to bail ourselves out.
I appreciate that many of you are loyal supporters and won’t be able to get behind this particular scheme due to the impact that the pandemic has had on you, but any and all the support you give to the club is most welcome and much appreciated.
Up the U’s