The future of Non-League football is up in the air right now. We have a number of different rules in place and they affect different parts of the pyramid in different ways.
You only have to look at the recent crowd restrictions for the FA Cup to see how different clubs are being treated. One thing is for certain though, all clubs are suffering and having their income cut in a number of different ways, some more than others.
For this reason, it is time that non-league clubs begin to look at alternative income options for the foreseeable future, as we have genuinely no idea how long this will all go on for?
There are many options, most of them involving running something online that fans can pay for.
There is a big gap when it comes to online streaming in non-league football. The simple reason is that the costs to set things up are too big for the potential return. However, up in the higher parts of the non-league ladder, where fans are not allowed to attend, this may now be viable.
In the past, teams have been thinking their fans would be at the ground, if they are at home, does that mean more will be prepared to pay for live streaming?
This is something that many people are familiar and comfortable with, as many big sites now offer streaming. The official 101 great goals news page keeps fans up to date with all the latest streaming news, and many people use services like this one.
There is a legitimate question hanging over whether live streaming will work for non-league teams, but if ever there is a time that it will work then it is now.
Whether live streaming takes place or not, what clubs could look to do is work out ways in which their fans can still spend their usual amount of money on the football club to help them through these times.
This could be in the form of online raffles, prize draws and any other type of fundraising that can be thought of. Many fans will be used to putting their loose change in the prize draw or raffle buckets that we see around non-league grounds, these can all be setup and run online for those still wishing to do that.
This isn’t the norm for any football club, but in these times, we have to work out different ways in which clubs can make money, and this means taking some of their familiar offerings online.
If ticket sales are not available, the money that fans usually spend at games may still be collected in some way to help.
The simple answer to this is that no one really knows, and it is the uncertainty surrounding this that is affecting clubs. They have no plans to work around, though the potential for no fans for six months has been spoken about.
Non-league is heading in two different directions at the moment, some clubs have fans in attendance and are reaping the rewards of that, some don’t have that yet.
What everyone has in common is simply a need for money. This is where clubs need to do their best to think outside of the box and work something out.
It may be streaming games for the bigger clubs in the Conference without fans, or it may be running the regular prize draw online so that people can still take part and donate something to the club. Whatever the answer, there does need to be an answer, and it may need to be in place for many months.