It has been a long time since we had such an encouraging pre-season and the future is looking a very bright shade of tangerine indeed.
Football without fans is nothing, as we have said for a very long time.
Fans being forced to watch their teams in almost empty stadiums via iFollow, TV broadcasts and other streaming services rather than being present in the stadium is weird and most unsatisfactory.
Fans have watched games played in front of empty seats. We all want to get back to our club as soon as it is humanly possible to do so, but when and how that will happen is still unknown.
With regulations changing on a weekly basis, football clubs up and down the country have the unenviable task of working out how many supporters can return, in what manner and then decide who attends and who misses out.
At the recent supporter meeting, the BFC directors stated that they would be very happy to listen to suggestions about how Blackpool fans can return to the stadium in the safest and fairest way possible.
As supporters, having this sort of engagement with our club is very heartening.
At the time of writing, it has just been announced that Blackpool’s home game against Swindon on Saturday has been chosen as one of the pilot matches to test how fans can return to watching live games safely.
It is very good news that our club is already prepared to stage such an event and we would like to congratulate them for being able to respond at such short notice – we should all spare a thought for the hard-working club staff who have made this possible!
Although there will only be 1,000 fortunate souls allowed into the ground, it is a positive move and we have to hope that the possibility of fans returning in greater numbers isn’t too far away.
A number of supporters at various clubs have been reporting issues with the EFL’s iFollow.
As it is likely that most of us will only be able to see our team via this method for the foreseeable, having access to a reliable streaming service is important.
It’s not clear if the problems have been caused through a lack of information/knowledge by the user or through problems with iFollow itself.
Given that so many of us will be wanting to log in on Saturday, we have some information to share which may help.
In order to ensure that you are ready for matchday, please follow the guidance that is outlined below:
Season ticket holders should receive a communication from the club with their unique code. Be sure to check your spam/junk folder if no email has been received to your main mailbox.
Register the code on iFollow as soon as you can (preferably not on the day of the game to allow for support time, if required). You can only register codes via the website, and not through the EFL iFollow app.
Ensure you have entered/saved payment details for your account. Even though you will not be charged, a billing card is required to activate your code.
Log on to iFollow in advance of kick-off to check that your stream is working – this can be via internet browsers (Chrome is preferred), mobile browsers, or the EFL iFollow app (smartphone or tablet). The stream is available one hour before kick-off.
If the stream is not working but your code has been activated, please try another browser.
Supporters are reminded that, although the club is a user of the iFollow platform, they do not operate it, and it is managed by the EFL.
While the club will have access to your codes and should assist you in the event that you have not received them, they will be limited in their ability to provide technical support.
iFollow is a league-wide product. As such, their technical support team can be inundated with requests for support during peak periods. iFollow technical support can be contacted by emailing email@example.com.
We are also aware of queries regarding revenue distribution from iFollow match passes.
For clarity, in Carabao Cup fixtures, the revenue from match passes purchased by both the home and away teams is pooled and distributed evenly between the two clubs.
For our Sky Bet League One fixtures, the distribution is slightly different.
The home club receives approximately 97 per cent of revenue from each match pass purchased after tax on their website, plus a proportion of the match passes purchased by the away side, commensurate with the likely away attendance at that fixture.
This figure is agreed between the two clubs in advance, on a game-by-game basis, using historical attendance data.
As an example, if Blackpool were to sell 2,000 match passes for a Sky Bet League One fixture at home, we would receive all of the revenue generated from those 2,000 passes.
If the away team would historically bring 200 supporters to Bloomfield Road for the game, then BFC, as the home club, will receive the revenue generated from the first 200 passes purchased by the away team. Thereafter, the away team retains any revenues.
It is therefore worth highlighting that non-season ticket holders who purchase an iFollow pass through BFC are providing income and support for the club.
We wish Neil Critchley and the squad all the very best for the forthcoming season, the supporters of Blackpool FC will be behind you all the way, even if we can’t be there in person for a while.
Hopefully, the team will feel well supported by the 1,000 people in the ground on Saturday and knowing that the rest of us are willing them on from various venues across the Fylde coast, the UK and beyond.