Aberdeen are confident they are moving closer to being able to offer fans a pay-per-view option for live streaming of behind-closed-door games.
The Reds are currently offering virtual season tickets for the 7,000-plus season ticket holders to watch live coverage of matches at the start of the new campaign which they will not be able to attend due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Aberdeen commercial director Rob Wicks confirmed they hope to provide a pay-per-view option for other fans.
Wicks said: “I would like to think we will get to a pay-per-view option for sure.
“We are hopeful of seeing some outline terms and conditions of pay-per-view at some point in the next week or two from the SPFL.
“In fact we are consulting with fans this week on their thoughts on pay-per-view and what likely costs would be for a game.
“It is something that is really important because we are missing out on income from away fans. By running a pay-per-view option we would in essence have away fans paying us to watch the game while it is streamed.
“In the same way the Red Army would have to use a pay-per-view option to watch us play away by buying that option from the away club we are playing.”
Aberdeen’s first two Premiership games, against Rangers at Pittodrie and St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, will both be broadcast live on Sky Sports. After that fans without season tickets, and the virtual season ticket included, will have to go down the pay-per-view route.
Aberdeen have currently sold 7,100 season tickets and Wicks is confident this number can rise to 8,000 by the Premiership curtain-raiser against Rangers at home.
Scottish Premiership clubs are able to create a virtual season ticket due to an agreement with broadcasters Sky Sports for games to be streamed.
Sky Sports’ new £125 million five-year broadcast deal begins with the August 1 season opener.
Wicks said: “Season ticket holders will get virtual season tickets to see the games.
“The first thing the SPFL had to do was to look at wrapping up the 2019-20 season with Sky.
“Once that was concluded we could really start thinking more in earnest about 20-21
“There has been a lot of work behind the scenes because in reality what we are talking about is a season ticket that will have a virtual component.
“We have been working with our partner Stream Digital.
“They have been doing a huge amount of work to basically create the platform on which all of our season ticket holders and paid up corporates will be able to access games as and when they are broadcast.
“We are in good shape.”
Will Aberdeen be happy with their Premiership start? We discussed this and much more on our Northern Goal podcast this week:
Aberdeen hope up to 7,500 fans can be allowed back into Pittodrie in October if the easing of lock-down restrictions allow.
National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon both insisted October was not written in stone and urged caution about this date.
Wicks said: “We have obviously got to follow government guidance and have to look at what the SPFL and SFA are telling us as well.
“We want to get back to football in front of crowds as soon as we possibly can, but we have to do so in a safe way. Things are changing on a daily basis, so we have to be cognisant of that. But the reality is, if we get to a point where we have 1 metre of social distancing, 7,500 is just 38% of capacity at Pittodrie.
“That strikes us as a good number. The ticket office and our operations team have done good work on this. We feel comfortable that is the sort of number that for partial crowds is going to be realistic.
“We remain hopefully that things will change in such a way that we can get to partial crowds sooner rather than later.
“The football and stadium operations teams have all been closely involved with the working groups that have been putting together the different strategies in terms of how we progress.
“We are encouraged and hopeful we can get back to playing in front of at least partial crowds sooner rather than later.”