The fans have spoken, and the new owners have listened - from next season an online streaming platform will be available to overseas viewers (and those that know their way around using a VPN service), whereby they’ll be able to watch each and every non-televised Sunderland game live on a bespoke platform provided by the club.
The majority of EFL clubs last season opted to provide a service for their supporters, and in the Championship only three clubs neglected to do so - of which Sunderland was one of them.
Initially this was cited by the club as a measure taken because a lack of value and understanding of the model, but the last year has shown that this service is not only coveted by supporters that are unable to attend games but is an effective revenue stream and a worthwhile venture.
So it’s with great pleasure, then, to hear that common sense has prevailed. From this coming season, fans right across the globe will be able to watch their beloved team take on all comers from League One as Jack Ross bids to fire Sunderland back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Talking about the project in the statement today on SAFC.com, Executive director Charlie Methven said:
For us it’s a no-brainer. Fans want to support their team, no matter where they are in the world. By offering the live streaming service, our overseas supporters can still feel connected to their club and be part of the excitement of a matchday.
We have also seen over the last year that the service has been available, that it has provided clubs with a significant revenue stream, so it’s a win-win in terms of the benefit to our fans and to the club.
The exact costings of the service are not yet known, but if the models put in place by other clubs last season are anything to go by there will be a number of options available to fans.
The majority of teams that offered a streaming service for the 2017/18 season had a structure whereby you could purchase a yearly, monthly or game-by-game pass depending on what it was that you wanted to do.
Match passes were generally £5 or £6, whilst yearly passes weren’t much more than £150 for the season. Provided the game is not live on TV, you’ll be able to watch every single Sunderland game in the league, home and away.
Groundbreaking news, and yet another reminder that the new owners are listening to the concerns of supporters that simply want to watch their team play on a week-to-week basis.