CITY fans will have the chance to watch more games without leaving the living room this season.

Whereas before only midweek matches have been streamed via iFollow for supporters in the UK, the new campaign will see the coverage expanded to include every League One and League Two fixture played during the World Cup in November and December.

Domestic Bank Holidays will also be covered – meaning that the Bantams’ games on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and over Easter will be available.

The move was backed overwhelmingly by clubs last month, though there has been some opposition led by Accrington owner Andy Holt who fears that attendances will suffer – particularly with the number of away fans.

But City chief executive Ryan Sparks does not agree and is firmly behind expanding the number of games being streamed.

He said: “I don’t believe that you put people off going. I think it’s two completely different markets.

“We’ve got 14,000 season-ticket holders and, if the games were reasonably accessible, we’d probably take 2,000-3,000 away.

"Generally speaking, you are always going to have four figures, or a high three figures of City fans travelling.

“But what about the people who don’t want to travel or whatever reason are unable to? As a game, we are not catering for those supporters.

“It’s a growth opportunity for clubs but to get it to where it needs to be, you have to have a fearlessness towards it. Don’t look at it as a threat because it’s not.”

City banked close to £170,000 last season from iFollow sales – which had rocketed the year before when games were forced behind closed doors because of the pandemic.

“The iFollow revenue at this club was virtually nothing but, during the pandemic, it became a take of nearly £470,000,” added Sparks.

“That period helped people know how to use the streaming service and it has changed the culture in terms of how some now view sport. From our perspective, we want more of it.

“From our point of view, it is about catering for everybody and there is little evidence to support the opinion that streaming is affecting attendances.

“Looking at our accounts and what we’ve budgeted for this coming season, it suggests quite the opposite.”

During the Covid-affected 2020/2021 season, the home club were given a share of the away team’s iFollow sales. But that reverted back to just the selling one last year.

Holt wrote an open letter to the EFL arguing that it unfairly benefited those with a bigger fanbase who were getting all the money.

That’s good news for City but Sparks can appreciate his point.

“We are about the collective,” he said. “It’s great from our perspective but if it made others feel more comfortable if there was some kind of carve-up, like a percentage of sales going towards the home club, we’d be open to that conversation because it will ultimately benefit everyone.

“Having said that, I’m very confident if we were playing a team away from home and we were on a decent run of form, we would sell out the away end - plus the streaming.

“I can understand the fear. But when I look at away gates here, the clubs who will bring a big following, I’m not concerned about those games being streamed.

“It’s not even entered into our thoughts because I believe people want to come and watch live football in real form anyway.

“What we are talking about is what we can provide people who for many reasons cannot follow us, away from home, as regularly as they would like.

“You look at the cost of living crisis and the price of petrol or the train as well as match tickets, things are becoming excessive.

"But that same person might be able to part with £10 and can get their family round to the house to watch it.

"Why should people be denied the right in 2022, given the technology that the EFL has so wisely invested in?”

The World Cup in Qatar runs from November 21 to December 18 – providing a window in the EFL calendar for the lower leagues to potentially grab a bigger audience. Sparks certainly thinks so.

“I want as many eyeballs on Bradford City as possible,” he said.

“I think that’s a fantastic opportunity for the clubs in League One and League Two and from the marketing perspective of the EFL.”

City’s Boxing Day trip to Carlisle could also post decent viewing figures.

A following of 1,243 saw the 2-0 loss in Cumbria last season and a full away end is anticipated if the Bantams are going well.

But how many will also choose to tune in from home while recovering from the Christmas excesses?

Sparks added: “That will tell us a lot but I think it will be beneficial for clubs across the board.

“When they look at the balance sheet at the end of every month, that’s where people will see the difference.

“There are some people who perhaps need to see more data. The more we do, the more proof we have - good and bad.”