Gulls owner calls for return of live streaming

Chairman Clarke Osborne, during the pre-season The Fans meet Torquay United at Plainmoor, Torquay,

Torquay United chairman Clarke Osborne wants to see the return of live streaming of matches. Picture: Sean Hernon/PPAUK - Credit: Sean Hernon/PPAUK

Torquay United chairman Clarke Osborne has called for National League clubs to be allowed to resume live TV 'streaming' of their own matches at least for the next two years.

The Gulls' owner believes that streaming will feature across all sports coverage in the future and says a two-year post-Covid 'experiment' would allow ruling bodies to make an informed decision about longer-term policy.

Osborne said: "I have held the view from before the pandemic that National League Premier clubs should be able to stream, under set conditions, any match which is not covered by a contracted broadcaster.

"It makes no sense to limit the enjoyment of live coverage only to supporters who are able to attend the stadium.

"It is not the same experience as actually being there, but for many it is the opportunity to watch and support their club. And today those 'many' can be almost anywhere in the world.

"I think live streaming will not have a significant effect on attendances but will have a positive effect on revenue, both from the streaming itself and from sponsors.

"It will also significantly build the fan base, giving NL clubs access to overseas markets.

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"We believe that we can become a competitive and financially independent professional club, where revenue from a variety of sources can fuel the drive for ever higher status and success.

"To do that, we need new multi-use facilities and revenue (a new stadium) and the ability to monetise our football to the 'at home' viewer, wherever they may be.

"I support any initiative within football seeking to achieve this goal.

"Why not extend (streaming) for the next two years of this pandemic 'tail' and review the consequences to provide accurate data for a longer-term decision in 2023-2024?"

Clubs were allowed to stream their games through successive 'lockdowns' and, although they have never revealed their viewing figures, United are known to have generated crucial income at £9.50 a match.

Torquay United v Notts County at Plainmoor last June was live streamed to fans around the world. 

Torquay United v Notts County at Plainmoor last June was live streamed to fans around the world with fyxnews - Credit: submitted

But the Premier League, EFL and NL have all halted the venture now that fans are back in stadia.