How streaming of matches could boost popularity of League of Ireland

 Earlier this year, the League of Ireland (LOI) had to postpone their season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the delay gave LOI a chance to set up a streaming service called WatchLOI. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) teamed up with the GAAGO to provide the live streaming service.

The streaming service started was set up for the situation where, due to restrictions, only players, staff, media members and some small number of season ticket holders were allowed into the stadiums. This meant no large number of fans, so the FAI had to do something about it.

According to the FAI, the revenue from WatchLOI will be split between all the LOI clubs. This will come as a boost to the majority of LOI clubs, due to the loss of revenue from not being able to sell any match day tickets.

A wall mural at Richmond Park, Inchicore. Credit: Christopher Windrum

Niall Quinn, the former interim deputy chief of the FAI spoke to the Irish Examiner about the WatchLOI site.

“After a month or so of matches, it is something we are really happy with. Plus, the league has gotten great exposure from it,” said Quinn.

LOI director Mark Scanlon said on the FAI website: “WatchLOI has been a great success with the supporters of each club and it has also given the Airtricity League a greater awareness in Ireland and overseas.”

WatchLOI has been an option for viewers in Ireland and for international viewers to watch each game. Giving the option of allowing international viewers helped in gaining popularity.

This gave local clubs like St Pats nd Bohs a huge chance of promoting themselves. Both clubs have been promoting the streaming site throughout every game this season, mostly through Instagram.  

This self-promotion by clubs will help market the WatchLOI site within in Ireland, at least.

It also gives the teams the ability to post their goals to their Instagram or their website with ease.  It is still unclear how much each club will make from the WatchLOI site, but it has given the league a platform to finally show off its product.  

On television, LOI games are a rare sight, with as few as five games a year being broadcast. In other countries, there might be five games on in one day. Most professional football teams today earn a lot of revenue from the broadcasting of their matches. This streaming service could finally lead the LOI into the 21st century and give each club new financial stability.