National League say they hope to have streaming platform in place soon after Ryan Reynolds criticism
National League officials say they hope to have a streaming platform in place for the second half of the current season.
The developments follow criticism from Wrexham co-owner Ryan Reynolds who said it was “truly baffling” that the league appeared to have neglected discussions on the issue.
The National League’s board said it has now reached an agreement with BT Sport, which owns broadcast and streaming rights to the competition in the UK, to proceed with the plan, which appears to enable non-televised matches to be streamed online via a central platform.
“After several months of considering the options and appropriate due diligence the Board were presented with a detailed report which, having received proposals from a number of potential partners including market leaders and which also included speaking with organisations who have successful experience in streaming, a series of recommendations were made,” the league said.
“The Board unanimously approved all recommendations and have tasked the Commercial Committee to immediately progress this work, finalise contractual arrangements and confirm timelines.
“The ambition is to have a fully functioning platform launch in the second half of the season.”
Reynolds highlighted the subject of live streaming by expressing dismay over league officials to his 20 million Twitter followers.
Tagging in all 24 National League clubs in his tweets, he wrote: “After months of maximum effort, the decision (through inaction of the Vanarama National League) to not allow domestic/international streaming of matches of Wrexham and the other clubs in the league is truly baffling.
“Depriving every team in our league the chance to expand the fanbase while adding to league revenue benefits everyone.”
And the National League’s title sponsors Vanarama issued a statement soon after which pledged “full support” for Reynolds’ quest for clubs to make their matches available online.
They said: “Firstly, it is important to remember that we already have a broadcast partner, in BT Sports, who currently have the contractual rights to all National League games in a deal that has served the whole League and all its 72 clubs well.
“BT are keen to work with the National League to support opportunities for our clubs to generate extra income, as they did during the Covid pandemic, in the form of streaming.
“We have been working intensely for some months to finalise a proposal to launch a centralised, fully tested Vanarama National League streaming platform. This proposal goes to the board for consideration at their meeting on 15th September.
“The proposal will recognise that we must respect and protect the status of the League and also BT Sport’s high production values and ensuring an approach which guarantees quality of service and the needs of all our clubs and their fans.”
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