Port Vale’s chief executive Colin Garlick has warned that streaming games live would not make up for lost income if the season is finished behind closed doors.
Like the EFL, Garlick expects the season would have to be played without supporters even if it is deemed safe to play this summer. He has stressed that should only happen if it is deemed safe to do so and follows the latest government advice about coronavirus.
Clubs would receive some income from matches being broadcast live to fans, either through iFollow or another platform.
But the chief executive says, while that would be welcome, it won’t make up for the matchday income clubs normally receive, including gate recepits hospitality and other sales.
His warning comes amid reports that some clubs fear they can’t afford to finish the season behind closed doors. Vale’s chief executive says his club are luckier than most because of the financial support of owners Carol and Kevin Shanahan.
However, he says Vale are still affected.
He said: “We’ve no income as such at the moment. We do have a few online sales both of season tickets and shop sales but we have lost the income from what was the business end of the season. That was a key period for us with some key games. Crewe, Grimsby, Bradford, they were really good games and we will miss the income.”
The chief executive says clubs throughout the lower divisions face problems while the season is suspended.
As for streaming games, he added: “I would like to think there would be some income from live streaming but I think that would be fairly limited. If you have a family that comes to a game, you get the family income and the secondary spend. But if it is £10 to download the game, four people are going to watch the game on the £10 download. So it is not going to have the same income for us, that’s for sure.”
Vale have furloughed all their players and most staff to protect the business while the season is suspended.
A small number of staff are remaining to keep the club running until football can return.