Kieran Maguire: 'Huge' £42m digital reveal has 'rescued' Sunderland

The iFollow service has been a financial lifering for teams with “huge” followings in the lower divisions like Sunderland.

That is according to finance guru and Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after the EFL announced that its streaming service had generated over £42million in 2020-21.

As the EFL puts it, “this money goes back to [the] Clubs, supporting them during a season like no other.”

That will come as a big boost for clubs such as Sunderland who failed to win promotion last term and are struggling with the economic repercussions of the pandemic.

Kieran Maguire told this site last Friday that the Black Cats could struggle financially next season with huge overheads and reduced parachute payments.

But the spreadsheet expert claimed that Sunderland’s “huge fanbase” means that iFollow will be a big revenue stream for them.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams: “For a club such as Sunderland which has such a huge fanbase, it has been very significant.

“That is especially true because Stewart Donald has limited resources. It has helped rescue the club, especially in terms of away games because of the way that iFollow works.

“The home club normally takes the first 500 tickets sold by the away team and then there is a different split beyond that.

“That is certainly beneficial to clubs like Sunderland with big, big followings in the lower leagues.”

Lee Johnson’s Sunderland lost out in the play-off semi-finals at the end of the last campaign, losing 3-2 on aggregate to Lincoln.

That means they will play in the third-tier for a fourth successive season, making it the longest they have spent outside the top two tiers in the club’s history.

In other news, Sunderland plot move to sign Chelsea goalkeeper with permanent deal on the cards.