City Release Impressive iFollow Stats

The beast that is iFollow was the cause of so much consternation at the beginning of the season, but as we move into the final few months of the campaign, it has been a lifeline.

I would not have seen every minute of the Imps’ league action this season, were it not for iFollow (minus the odd spinning wheel moment). Oddly, fans being locked out of stadiums has brought us closer to the action in some ways, and whilst it certainly is not preferable to actually being there, watching us home and away every week without major outlay has been nice. As we approach Valentine’s Day, the main issue people seem to have to with the different commentary options, which hopefully suggests the service has improved. I was a vocal critic of iFollow for a long time, but I’m not quite happy with the coverage (although I’m not looking forward to listening to the Hull commentary again this week).

The question is often asked how we’re doing in terms of iFollow stats, and how much of the money goes to the club. This afternoon, the Imps have released some statistics which shine a little light on how many people are watching, and what it means to the club.

The club has revealed that Imps fans are streaming the game in their ‘thousands’, with our ‘away’ support averaging 1,746 across the season so far. That puts us sixth in the viewing table, behind Charlton, Sunderland, Ipswich Town, Plymouth and Portsmouth. I find that impressive, especially when the likes of Hull City, Blackpool and Oxford are beneath us, all clubs who usually have a decent fanbase. Hats off to Plymouth fans by the way – they’re the biggest city in England never to have hosted top-flight football and yet they’re fourth in the viewing table, above Portsmouth.

The Imps iFollow audience is also breaking new records through the course of the season. Our League One last away match not on Sky, at Portsmouth, drew 2,299 households to the service, a record for the Imps in 20/21. Our last home game, the 1-0 defeat against Doncaster, saw 3,301 households, including ST holders, stream the game. That too is a record for our 20/21 campaign. Even the EFL Trophy game against Hull City, with Brendan Johnson making his Imps debut, Eyoma and Edun turning into one player called Edoma, and Rita Hayworth starting in midfield, drew 1,731. Guess what? That was a record for the competition. expect those numbers to keep rising too because it seems the Imps’ battle for a place in the Championship is gathering momentum and we all know success breeds success.

Setting an iFollow EFL Trophy record – Credit Graham Burrell

The revenue from iFollow is no small change either. The club revealed that the revenue from out away fixtures, in particular, is an important stream of income that helps out in these challenging times. £8.33 from every £10 pass sold is received by the club, which the club state is a ‘key factor in closing the gap in lost revenue’ caused by the pandemic. They also report a 95% decrease in the issues being raised by supporters, suggesting the iFollow service has improved significantly since the start of the season, The one thing they can’t control is partisan home commentators, which causes debate every week. Some (like me) like our home commentators to be Lincoln-bias, but don’t appreciate being forced to listen to the same on our travels. Others feel away commentary is a refreshing listen, but aside from Wimbledon, I haven’t enjoyed a single commentary that isn’t Michael or Rob.

The final word should really go to manager Michael Appleton, who says: “Everyone at the football club knows how important the supporters are. We have a great following and are extremely grateful to those who watch us on iFollow. To be amongst the top six clubs in this league for match pass sales is something we can all be proud of, especially given the fact that many clubs in this division were in the Premier League not that long ago.

“As we enter the second half of the season, it is looking unlikely that we will have supporters back in the stands in the near future. Whilst the whole team is missing the fantastic atmosphere that you create on a match day, we are proud to know that there are so many of you watching us from home.”

Yes, this but is a little promotional, but why not consider getting iFollow this week for the trip to Hull City? Be prepared to mute the sound, or turn off the commentary, but let’s see if we can beat the 2,299 households who watched Pompey away, and hopefully witness the Imps open a gap on the Tigers at the top of the table.