Breakaway broadcast service on agenda for fans as Portsmouth are left embarrassed by latest iFollow fiasco

Pompey are to explore launching their own streaming service following iFollow’s latest embarrassing failure.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 1:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 2:13 pm

Blues chief executive Mark Catlin apologised to users and branded the latest issue a ‘line in the sand’ when it comes broadcasting the club’s games moving forward.

Fans were left fuming when the stream for last night’s EFL Trophy clash with Southend dropped out, wiping out their only way to watch their team in action with games behind closed doors.

It follows on from a similar issue when showing the opening-day draw with Shrewsbury at Fratton Park.

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The iFollow service is provided by the EFL along with their partner, Endeavor Streaming, leaving technical issues out of the club’s hand.

But Catlin knows the buck ultimately stops with the club and action needs to be taken, starting with users being offered a free stream of Pompey’s next EFL Trophy game by way of apology.

He said: ‘On behalf of Portsmouth Football Club we’d like to apologise for the disruption in the first 10 to 15 minutes of last’s night’s iFollow stream.

‘As supporters are sure aware, this is a stream we have no input in as a club.

Pompey are looking at starting their own streaming service to show games after the latest iFollow failure

‘It’s run by the EFL and their streaming partners Endeavor Streaming.

‘I’ve spoken to the EFL and they are as angry and frustrated as anyone by the streaming service provided by Endeavor.

‘However, the stream is badged as Pompey and I’m the chief executive, so I have to take responsibility.

‘Anyone who had a stream last night will be given a free stream for the next EFL Trophy fixture as a sign of goodwill.

‘For us, this is a line in the sand.

‘We’ll continue to work with iFollow this season, but this is not acceptable.

‘Launching our own service is something we’re now definitely exploring moving forward.’

A number of clubs within the EFL, including Sunderland, Derby, Middlesbrough and Forest Green Rovers provide their own digital services outside of the iFollow umbrella.

Although acknowledging the strides made if iFollow and costs attached to going down the same route, Catlin explained Pompey will now look at doing the same.

He added: ‘We like to be a part of the collective and the huge majority of clubs in the EFL are on iFollow.

‘There’s been a lot of advancements made at home matches in the past year or two, and it’s our only real revenue source. It’s where we see the future, and it’s vital we get it right.

‘We don’t particularly relish the thought of going out and doing it on our own because of the costs involved, particularly in this period.

‘But ultimately, the quality of the service to our fans is the paramount concern.

‘If the alternative option is more expensive but a better service, we’ll go with that option.’

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