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The modern age dilemma on football streaming rights and subscription services

Streaming Offside

In the era of digitalisation, the way we consume sports, particularly football, has undergone a significant transformation. Gone are the days of relying on free to view television broadcasts or attending matches in person. Instead, the rise of football streaming services has brought convenience and accessibility to fans worldwide. However, this shift has not come without its challenges and controversies, particularly concerning affordability and ownership rights.

Financial barriers of football streaming

The obvious problem frequently discussed is the cost of football streaming. Across the globe, fans are faced with the dilemma of shelling out significant sums of money for pay-per-view matches or committing to subscription services that often come with hefty price tags.

In the UK, for example, the proliferation of subscription-based services like Sky Sports and BT Sport has made it increasingly difficult for fans to afford access to all the Premier League matches they desire. Additionally, the introduction of pay-per-view schemes for games in the EFL (English Football League) with the iFollow streaming service or even in the non-league pyramid with National League TV.

A similar scenario unfolds in Austria, where football enthusiasts are met with the same dilemma of balancing their passion for the sport with the rising costs of accessing live matches. The monopolisation of broadcasting rights by major networks such as Sky Sport and DAZN further exacerbates the affordability issue, with frequency price rises too, leaving many fans feeling disenfranchised.

A scene of diverse fans watching a football match live on various devices

The debate on streaming ownership rights

But the cost of football streaming is just one aspect of a larger issue. The ownership rights of match footage have become a contentious topic, with broadcasters and streaming platforms exerting control over what fans can and cannot access, what clubs can do with the footage, and who gets the revenue. This commercialization of the game prioritises profit over the interests of fans and hard working community clubs, effectively commodifying football and restricting its accessibility to those who can afford it.

Moreover, the shift towards live broadcasting for profit has had profound implications for the traditional matchday experience. While streaming services offer unparalleled convenience for fans who are unable to attend matches in person due to geographical constraints or other commitments, they risk diluting the atmosphere and sense of community that define the live football experience. 

However, it's essential to acknowledge the benefits that live streaming brings to the table. For fans who are unable to attend matches due to physical disabilities, financial limitations, or other reasons, streaming services offer a lifeline, allowing them to stay connected with their favourite teams and players from the comfort of their homes or wherever else they may be in the world.

Live-streaming in the semi-professional/amateur football sector

Importantly also financial support to clubs through streaming revenue can be key, particularly those operating in lower leagues or struggling to stay afloat financially.

Yet, even as football streaming becomes more accessible and widespread, new challenges emerge on the horizon. Non-league and semi-professional clubs are increasingly being exploited for their footage, with third-party streaming services profiting from the commercialization of grassroots football. This trend not only threatens the integrity of the game but also undermines the efforts of local communities to support and sustain their clubs.

The solution: zone14 LIVE

With zone14, amateur/semi-pro teams can not only analyse their matches but also stay in control of their footage. zone14 LIVE , includes streaming to YouTube which is completely free to view, or alternatively clubs can stream matches to their own website with our new ‘ClubTV/VeriensTV’ package, and control how much fans pay to view the stream. Sponsors can also be integrated into the stream, to allow clubs to generate 100% profit from streaming and their camera system. Interested in bringing live streaming to your amateur club? Get in touch with us now.

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