Every single match must be live streamed to fans with football possibly becoming a spectatorless sport for up to 12 MONTHS, according to Simon Jordan.
Jordan, the former Crystal Palace chairman, fears it could be up to a year before supporters are allowed to return to stadiums because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
At the minimum it appears almost a certainty that the remainder of the 2019/20 season will be completed behind closed doors, with the latest plans seeing the Premier League ending the campaign at ‘hub’ venues such as Wembley to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.
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But with the UK in lockdown for another three weeks and no idea if the peak of the virus has passed, any proposals remains just that – proposals.
Furthermore, the fear that the 2020/21 season will start with no fans allowed at stadiums is real.
Reports claim the UK may not exit lockdown completely until a vaccine for coronavirus is found, and this may not be until sometime next year.
With large gatherings of people unlikely to be allowed until this time, Jordan says it could be up to a year before fans are allowed to watch sport in person again.
Speaking on talkSPORT’s Final Word, he said: I hate putting forward doomsday scenarios and falling into the same methodology Im being critical of, but what Im trying to do is look to the future and plan for it.
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I think there is a distinct possibility, certainly now and this is not the most insightful comment that it is very unlikely we will see football played in front of fans this season.
So when we do come back, it will be spectatorless.
Also, I think there is a distinct possibility that you are looking down the barrel of spectatorless sport for the next 12 months.
But how will fans cope with no football to watch, and how will clubs – especially those lower down the football pyramid – cope with zero matchday revenue for up to 12 months?
Jordan’s proposal is a ‘digital season ticket’, which offers fans the chance to watch every single match their beloved club plays by streaming them online.
This satiates the supporters and also guarantees clubs income by selling these ‘digital season tickets’ for as long as they must before fans can return to stadiums.
Give COVID-19 the red card
The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again
STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:
- to shop for basic essentials only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work but only where this is absolutely necessary
For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
If indeed we are faced with the situation where it is a spectatorless environment, how does football cope with that?” continued Jordan. “How does it generate the all-consuming need of feeding the ravenous beast the money side of things?
Given the fact we live in a digital age and are in a situation now where we can embrace technology, I dont think it is beyond the wit of man and, predominantly, 72 Football League clubs to sit there and say, now is the time we can start to think about digital footprints and stream every single game that we cannot show to fans because our stadiums are empty.
Create a platform where you sell a digital season ticket. Every club has a significant proportion of its fanbase that are season ticket holders, such as the average Championship club having 13,000 season ticket holders and the average League One club that has 5/6,000 season ticket holders.
Youve got to find a way to keep them close to club and able to watch the sport, at the same time as monetising the club to meet obligations.
Streaming, now, is a very simple cost-effective way of doing that.