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How has the experience of streaming Sunderland’s games been so far?

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All Sunderland fans have had to get used to the idea of streaming matches in order to watch them live - what do you think of the service that the club provides?

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Philip West says...

Personally, I’ve found the streaming service to be pretty good, for the most part. The picture is of good quality, I haven’t had any issues with it freezing or lagging behind. I watch the games on desktop Mac, and can only assume the service is optimised for computers, as I have seen one or two people complaining on Twitter about difficulties when watching it on tablets or smart phones. Touch wood, I’ve yet to encounter any major issues.

In terms of improvements, a multi-camera setup would be a welcome addition. It’s not exactly an ideal viewing experience to watch the entire game from one fixed camera mounted on the halfway line, and as a consequence of that, there’s been a lot of erratic camerawork occurring. During the Bristol Rovers game, the cameraman seemed to be battling an urge to zoom in at any given moment. It wasn’t ideal and did feel quite slapdash, so that’s something I’d like to see changed.

I’d also like the option of a different commentary team, instead of synching BBC Newcastle’s commentary to the stream. Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett are always interesting to listen to, but I think for the club’s own streaming service they could perhaps look at hiring a different duo to provide play by play and colour commentary for when we watch matches online. Obviously this would all be money-driven, but giving customers some variety would be no bad thing, in my view.

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Tom Flanagan
Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Martin Wanless says...

As an exiled north-easterner overseas in Oz, I’ve used the SAFSEE streaming service ever since it was launched. When we were in the Premier League, I was able to watch all of the games live via Fox Sports (Australian equivalent of Sky), but upon relegation to the Championship the club, in their infinite wisdom, decided not to stream games.

So, when the streaming service was launched I was delighted – the fact it was one camera, no replays and no commentary didn’t bother me at all, I was just happy to be able to watch the game again.

I’ve seen many complaints about reliability of the stream etc but in truth I’ve rarely experienced a problem. I can count on one hand the times the stream has dropped out or failed. And even then those issues have been fleeting. Maybe it’s something to do with the volume of traffic online in Australia at 1am on a Sunday morning. I know there are other avenues to get to watch the game, but I prefer the reliability I’ve experienced, and the accountability that’s there from the club to provide the service – as well as paying some money to the club, which is vital now for its long-term sustainability.

Speaking of money, as an overseas supporter I get all games, bar those broadcast somewhere in the world, for £140, which I think is great value. I know that currently people based in the UK are being charged £10 per game, a figure set by the EFL, and that is too much in my opinion. Given that, it’s easy to understand why people would find a cheaper option of tuning in.

The addition of the commentary from Nick Barnes and Benno is a positive this season – I know they have their detractors but I like them. Benno cares.

Of course, I’d prefer multi angle cameras, some pre, mid and post game analysis, which in all reality could be done pretty easily and economically, however it wouldn’t necessarily change my enjoyment of the game itself. I’m not a neutral. I’m not really watching the game for enjoyment!

Anyway, one camera, no replays and no commentary – and when fans are allowed back in, being able to hear them talk during the game – is just like being at the match, so there’s something to be said for that.

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Danny Graham
Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale says...

I’ve had no big issues barring the lack of commentary on the Oxford game. Yes, the camera angles and quality compared to Sky aren’t great, but for me this is a temporary offering I will use as long as it is needed, and it’ll do for now.

As an exiled Mackem some 200 miles from the Stadium of Light, the chance to actually watch my team play live way more often than I normally could can’t be a bad thing, with the exception of poor results. With work and family duties, I normally get to 8-10 games a year including a couple of away ones closer to home. With the fact some games cannot be shown live on SAFSEE for commercial reasons outside present circumstances, the current option means I am probably a happier punter than most to pay for the coverage.

Let’s face it, given the league we are in, seeing a full game live isn’t a regular option on terrestrial or Sky, and the less said about Quest the better. You can pick and choose the games you want, at a price the EFL determined and which puts a few quid to the club, keeping the ‘parasite’ label at bay.

The alternative is no football at all. As long as the service remains reliable then what’s the alternative? Listen to the web commentary from the lads on Radio Barcode?

It’s far from fab coverage and it’s no substitute for season ticket holders, who are rightly insulted and should be compensated when the club can afford that. For me, however, it’s a better chance to see games than the norm, so I’m not complaining too much.

Can’t wait to get back to the stadium though, as nothing is better than that.

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Luke O’Nien celebrates scoring Sunderland’s opening goal at Oxford United
Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says...

I have had no real issues with the streaming of games from SAFSEE.

My expectations are not rampantly high of streaming and my expectations are largely met. Adding the audio commentary from Radio Newcastle seems on paper like a sensible arrangement as long as you do mot mind the quality of the commentary.

As someone who would often pre-pandemic watch a game without commentary, means that being without would not ruin the experience for me. It does maybe become different when it is your own team and the pundit on the couch provides the biased commentary.

I do feel the cost could be lowered for domestic users in line with the international customers. The club missed an opportunity this season to thank those fans that renewed their season tickets by not including away games as part of the streaming package to season ticket holders.

On the whole though I am just glad to be able to watch my team again and to have the joy, success and pleasure this brings back in to my life.

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Aiden O’Brien
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images