As known from:
sky sportscricketworldTorquay United
Best Betting Sites UK / Latest Non League News / Opinion: Reynolds is right, it’s about time the National League said yes to match streams

Opinion: Reynolds is right, it’s about time the National League said yes to match streams

Publish Date:31/08/2022
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Ryan Reynolds is pushing for match streaming in the National League
  • National League described as taking an approach of 'inaction'
  • All 72 EFL clubs have option to stream matches using iFollow

The National League have not permitted streaming for the 2022/23 season - Credit: Wrexham AFC / BT Sport

Wrexham co-owner Ryan Reynolds may be leading the charge for clubs in the National League to be allowed to stream their matches, but does the Hollywood icon have a point?

Wrapped up in the early hours of the West Coast morning, a blurry-eyed Rob McElhenney tunes into watch Wrexham’s end-of-season clash against fellow National League side Dagenham & Redbridge. Of course, he’s left disappointed, as the team he co-owns along with fellow movie star Reynolds, missed out on a playoff spot following a 1-1 draw against the East London outfit.

Yet, the sheer sight of McElhenney – a man whose net worth is believed to be in excess of £40 million – rooting for stalwarts of the non-league game, provided a sense of surrealness to the first helping of Wrexham’s new Disney+ docuseries. McElhenney, who has previously worked alongside mega-stars like Danny DeVito and Charlie Day, was now suffering anguish at the mercy of Paul Rutherford and his below-par Wrexham teammates.

Josh Jones
2022-08-29 22:16
Imagine if 10 years ago, someone told you that @VancityReynolds would be trending with the National League in an argument for streaming of Wrexham games. Crazy Crazy World 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 #WrexhamFX https://t.co/Tpl3bSE3Pg
5 0

It's a story, quite literally, like no other. Two Hollywood millionaires purchase a decaying football club in English football’s fifth tier, with the ambition to take them up the football pyramid and eventually into the Premier League. A script you wouldn’t dare write out of fear of being too farfetched? Perhaps. But ever since Reynolds and McElhenney took charge at the Racecourse Ground in November 2020, the attention on the National League has never been greater.

While the pair’s true intentions for purchasing Wrexham are still somewhat unknown, their desire to produce a documentary following their time in charge has always been clear. First aired in the United Kingdom in late August, the nine-part docuseries details the trials and tribulations of their first 18 months in charge of the club.

Read: 'Premier League the goal,' believe Wrexham owners

The first two episodes set the scene for what was a club in decline both on and off the pitch, having spent the previous 12 seasons out of the English Football League. Unlike other fly-on-the-wall football documentaries, Welcome to Wrexham details the grittier side of the British game, casting a light on the short-term and cutthroat nature of non-league football.

Where the likes of Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ series seek to entertain, Welcome to Wrexham educates causal football followers on the ins and outs of non-league football. Yet, away from the awkward team meetings and emotionally charged dressing room cut scenes, it also serves to increase the profile of the National League as a whole, not just that of Wrexham’s.

Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds are in favour of match streaming in the National League - Credit: Wrexham AFC

One of the standout moments from the opening two episodes of Welcome to Wrexham was the dramatic final day clash against Dagenham & Redbridge. A Daggers side with nothing to play for, denying their opponents a spot in the playoffs, therefore ending the Welsh club’s season early and breaking the hearts of Wrexham’s new star-studded custodians.

For many viewers of the documentary, particularly those of an international persuasion, it’s likely that would’ve been the first time they’d seen or heard of Dagenham & Redbridge. Great exposure for a club who have only been playing under its current guise for 30 years, right? Well, you’d think so, but a quick scroll on the club’s social media pages following the release of the documentary and it was as if their moment in the spotlight had never happened.

If Wrexham are using the documentary to widen their appeal to a global audience, why can’t other clubs do the same too? A quick look at Wrexham’s 2021/22 results suggests there’s plenty more drama to come across the upcoming episodes, with the likes of Woking, Bromley and Dagenham again all having a say on what was yet another crushing end to the campaign.

However, the general consensus amongst clubs, and particularly their supporters, in the National League since Reynolds and McElhenney’s arrival has been to oppose the extra exposure and fight it with an anti-outsider mentality. The same can be said about the conversations around the introduction of match streams for National League games, with Wrexham and Reynolds’ recent plea to the fifth tier’s governing bodies met with stern opposition.

In a statement sent from the Canadian’s Twitter account, the Wrexham co-owner labelled the National League’s decision to prevent teams from streaming matches as “baffling”, later adding they are “depriving” the chance for clubs to “expand the fanbase”.

Ryan Reynolds
2022-08-29 19:02
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. CC @btsport. Pls RT!!! 1/4
47733 902

Of course, streaming matches wouldn’t be something that’s new to English football, with the 72 clubs in the EFL having had the option to provide match coverage via the iFollow system since 2017. Due to the ‘3pm Blackout’ rule, it was a service exclusive to international audiences until 2018, when it was expanded to allow streams to UK viewers for midweek matches.

Understandably, there have been some reservations around the prospect of National League clubs being able to stream their matches, namely that of the impact it will have on attendances at matches. Yet, attendance figures taken from the season prior to iFollow being introduced in the EFL, compared to two seasons after, show gate receipts tend not to be impacted by the option of streams.

Of the 14 clubs who played in League One during the 2016/17 campaign and the 2018/19 season, seven of those saw a drop off in average attendances, four saw an increase, while for three there was no change. Perhaps it may seem concerning that over half of those sides experienced smaller crowds, however, of those seven clubs, only Bradford’s gates dropped by over 1,000 people.

In League Two across the same time period, the results were similar. This time, nine of the 14 clubs saw a drop off in attendance, but none of those teams experienced a decrease in over 1,000 fans. Instead, the biggest drop was Grimsby Town, who saw crowds decrease by 800 people on average. Of the other five clubs, all of them saw increases in attendance following iFollow’s introduction, with Notts County and Mansfield Town’s figures going up by over 1,000 supporters.

Grimsby Town celebrate winning the 2021/22 National League playoff final - Credit: Grimsby Town FC

Granted, there are various performance, environmental and economic factors at play, so the real reason behind fluctuations in attendances cannot be truly known. However, based on evidence taken from the EFL, there are no discernible effects streaming matches has on the attendances at games.

What about those supporters who may be dissuaded from going to a match, if the option of streaming it at home is there? Well, ask yourself this: does the experience of watching live football in a stadium compare to watching it on a computer screen? It's a resounding no. So, for those who have always enjoyed the benefits of going to matches, the option of streaming is unlikely to impact their decision-making. If anything, it could open more doors for supporters who are unable to get to travel long distances for matches, particularly mid-week away fixtures.

Another concern, and perhaps one more pressing than the impact on attendances, surrounds the issue of finances. If it hasn’t already, it’s likely Wrexham’s global appeal will eventually eclipse that of any other side in the National League, due to the interest surrounding the Hollywood duo. Whether their intentions are right or wrong, it’s undeniable Reynolds, McElhenney and Co. will look to use that increased profile as a way to generate more cash.

The current regulations around streaming matches internationally clearly impact their ability to tap into new markets, making this recent push for change a logical next step. It’s likely the case that if streaming is to be introduced, Wrexham’s matches will be the most watched, therefore making their fixtures potentially the most profitable. Having already assembled one of the most expensive squads in National League history, it’s hard to make a case for Wrexham being able to increase their income even further through match streams. But what if that option was eliminated from the off?

Vanarama
2022-08-30 12:02
We are in favour of live streaming as long as it benefits all clubs in the league and is what the fans want. As the National League’s title sponsor, we will talk to @TheVanaramaNL and @btsport to make sure our voice is heard. https://t.co/28uetMCjVC
1039 80

If Reynolds and McElhenney are serious about pushing for match streaming in the National League to help all 24 clubs, not just one, the increased revenue streams must also benefit all 24 clubs, not just one. How that works in practice would be an issue for the authorities to decide, but a system where the fruits of streaming matches are shared as close to evenly throughout the 24 teams as possible, would be crucial to ensuring its success.

Implementing such a system wouldn’t require too many logistical hurdles to be jumped over, given all clubs provided match streaming to fans during the behind closed doors Covid-19 campaign. Granted, there were issues with the quality of some club’s streams, which is something the league would have to ensure was to an acceptable level across the board, but it generally worked well enough. The home side provided the stream, supporters paid a fee to the club and they were able to watch the match. It's something that has happened before and happens every week higher up in the pyramid. It isn't something that rips the fabric out of the non-league game.

There are already complaints about other aspects of the National League, like an archaic match highlights embargo, or the limitation on how many substitutions can be named. And with the increased attention brought to the division by people like Reynolds and McElhenney, along with the continued high-quality coverage provided by official broadcasters BT Sport, the National League simply cannot afford to stand still in its development.

Gone are the days when England’s fifth tier was a league run by old men in tweed suits, and one where clubs would have to knock on the EFL’s door begging for spare change. The National League is a professional organisation, and it’s high time it began acting like one.

Read Also
FA Trophy Last 16 Preview - Saturday 10th February 2024
The FA Trophy is entering its critical stages as 16 teams are ...
Televising Wrexham's FA Cup tie shouldn't be considered controversial
The decision to televise Wrexham’s FA Cup First Round tie with Oldham ...
DAZN BET Promo
Non-league fans left furious with decision to televise Wrexham's FA Cup tie
Wrexham's FA Cup First Round tie with Oldham Athletic has been selected ...
Premier League still the aim for Wrexham, believe Reynolds and McElhenney
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney believe Wrexham have the potential to reach ...
National League end of season grades
With the regular season over, it's time to look back on a ...
Bookmaker of the Month
BetMGM UK - Get Your Bonus Now! Get Your Bonus Now!
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
BetMGM UK
BetMGM UK
BetMGM UK Review
4.6/5
LiveScore Bet
LiveScore Bet
LiveScore Bet Review
4.6/5
Bwin
4.6/5
Unibet
Unibet
Unibet Review
4.6/5
kwiff
kwiff
kwiff Review
4.6/5
BetMGM UK
BetMGM UK Bonus
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
New cust only. 7 days to opt in by placing a £10 qualifying bet at 1/1 (2.0) odds or greater to receive 4x Free Bets: 1 x £10 horse racing, 1 x £10 Bet Builder, 1 x £10 Acca and 1 x £10 football. 7 day expiry. Exclusions apply. Stake not returned. T&Cs apply. 18+ BeGambleAware.org.
LiveScore Bet
LiveScore Bet Bonus
Bet £10, Get £20 in Free Bets
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Bwin
Bwin Bonus
£20 Back-Up Bet as Free Bet
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Min deposit £10, Max stake £10, Min Odds 1/1 (2.0); Max free bet £10; New players only
Unibet
Unibet Bonus
£40 Welcome Bonus
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
New customers only. Age 18+. Located in the United Kingdom. First losing bet returned as a bonus bet at the same value. Begambleaware. T&Cs apply
kwiff
kwiff Bonus
Bet £10 Get £30 Surprise Bet
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
New customers & 18+ only. Min. deposit of £10. Qualifying real money bet of £10. Min odds greater than or equal to 1.5 required. E/W bets excluded. Offer awarded immediately but could be issued the next working day in exceptional circumstances such as technical fault. Additional T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly.
Latest News
Ginger Joe - The Irish 2000 Guineas 2024 - Runner By Runner Guide
It’s Irish Guineas weekend over at the Curragh, ...
Ginger Joe - Betting Tips for Friday 24 May 2024
The weekend is almost upon us again and ...
Announcing The New Betting.co.uk Forum: Join Today!
We are pleased to announce the launch of ...
Ginger Joe - Betting Tips for Thursday 23 May 2024
The racing week is well under way and ...
Ginger Joe - Betting Tips for the Soudal Open on the DPWT
We have just seen the second Major of ...
Bookmaker of the Month
BetMGM UK - Get Your Bonus Now! Get Your Bonus Now!
Betting Tips
19/05/2024 - 4:00 pm
Anfield
Tip:
Darwin Nunez to score 2+ goals
3/1
Bet365
19/05/2024 - 4:00 pm
Brentford Community Stadium
Tip:
Draw
29/10
Ladbrokes
19/05/2024 - 4:00 pm
The Emirates
Tip:
5-0 Home win
12/1
Ladbrokes
Our Team
James LeelandGinger JoeAmos MurphyMike McKeanJordan Noble
+7
James Leeland
James Leeland
Editor
Ginger Joe
Ginger Joe
Expert Punter
Amos Murphy
Amos Murphy
Sports Writer
Mike McKean
Mike McKean
Editor
Jordan Noble
Jordan Noble
Sports Writer
Alyx Tzamantanis
Alyx Tzamantanis
Editor
Matthew O'Regan
Matthew O'Regan
Non League Tipster
Jamie Clark
Jamie Clark
Contributor
Dave Kuzio
Dave Kuzio
Content Manager
Geoff Banks
Geoff Banks
Columnist
The Fund
The Fund
The Fund
Zack Wilson
Zack Wilson
Contributor
Get the Best Deals via Mail
By providing my e-mail address, I declare that I agree that Betting.co.uk will regularly send me information by e-mail: I can revoke my consent at any time.

Users must be 18+. If you are having trouble with gambling then help and advice can be found at begambleaware.org. Please Play Responsibly.

Trading financial products carries a high risk to your capital, especially trading leverage products such as CFDs. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

Close
Place Your Bets! Discover Premium Bonuses at Our Trusted Partners.
BetMGM UK
BetMGM UK Bonus
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
T&Cs apply, 18+
New cust only. 7 days to opt in by placing a £10 qualifying bet at 1/1 (2.0) odds or greater to receive 4x Free Bets: 1 x £10 horse racing, 1 x £10 Bet Builder, 1 x £10 Acca and 1 x £10 football. 7 day expiry. Exclusions apply. Stake not returned. T&Cs apply. 18+ BeGambleAware.org.
Bonus Code:
Go to BetMGM UK
Get Bonus
LiveScore Bet
LiveScore Bet Bonus
Bet £10, Get £20 in Free Bets
T&Cs apply, 18+
Bonus Code:
Go to LiveScore Bet
Get Bonus
The Pools
The Pools Bonus
Get £10 to use on Accas when you place 2x £10 Accas Monday to Sunday
T&Cs apply, 18+
18+, UK only. New mobile customers only. Qualifying stake 4/5 or bigger, 2 x £10 free bets credited next day, 7 day expiry. Full T&Cs apply.
Bonus Code:
Go to The Pools
Get Bonus
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site