Tranmere fans may be able to watch selected league matches from the comfort of their own home next season thanks to a landmark broadcast deal struck between the EFL and Sky Sports last year.
Thanks to its new deal with Sky Sports, the EFL will extend its current streaming rights for the 2018/19 season and in doing so could open up the possibility of certain Tranmere league games being streamed live in the UK.
Currently, the Football League’s iFollow streaming platform allows fans from outside of the UK to pay £110 per season to access live streams of games, when available. Clubs have to be opted-in to use the iFollow platform or have an equivalent service that is able to serve supporters.
While the availability of live league games was limited to overseas fans only during the 2017/18 season, the EFL were able to open up selected Checkatrade Trophy matches to a UK audience for just £5 per game. This could now be extended significantly.
As we head in to a brand new season, the latest broadcast deal allows for non-Saturday matches to be streamed live over the internet to fans here in the UK as well.
Weekend matches are exempt due to UEFA guidelines protecting of Saturday fixtures, however, it’s feasible that some, or all, midweek matches that would previously have been inaccessible to many fans could theoretically be opened up for live viewing online right here in the UK.
We do not know the specifics of how many Rovers games will become available, or even if Tranmere will opt-in to iFollow, but it’s an exciting prospect for members of the SWA around the world.
The technology behind the streaming service would also allow for club commentary to be placed over the top of the stream even if the commentators are not at the game themselves. They’d commentate ‘live’ while watching a video feed with the platform then stitching the two together in real time and delivering it via the stream with a delay of only 30-60 seconds.
After two years outside of the EFL, Tranmere built a new official website last summer that replaced the previous iteration that had been built, and used the templates of, the Football League’s previous digital platform.
However, should the club choose to return to the EFL’s platform next season, fans could see many new features become available, including that of iFollow.
We will keep you informed as we hear more.
Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled later this week as we explore some of the other advantages of being back in the EFL!