As many of you will know, last week the EFL issued a press release regarding matchday programmes.
Their statement is reproduced below, but it’s one that has prompted a number of debates, both in the national press and on social media channels.
It is, perhaps, worth pointing out that EFL Clubs at the Annual General Meeting are only being asked vote on the removal of the compulsory requirement to issue a matchday programme with central advertising.
All Clubs will be able to make their own choice as to whether they have a programme or not.
As far as Bristol Rovers are concerned, no matter which way the vote goes, we will continue to issue a printed version of our matchday programme, The Pirate, for the 2018/19 season.
Although programme sales have declined in recent seasons, evidence suggests that, at present, many people still regard the programme as an integral part of the matchday experience and we believe that our publication provides excellent value for money.
It is also a source of revenue for the club as it still makes a profit. Not, admittedly, a huge one, but enough to make it worthwhile to continue production.
Consideration has, once again, been given to producing an online version of the programme, but after taking advice from a number of printers, and clubs, we feel that the number of sales this will generate will be minimal.
There are many supporters who believe that an online version would be available free of charge but, unfortunately, that would not be the case as certain costs would be incurred in its production.
As things stand at the moment, we will be producing an 84 page programme (four pages less than this season, but with fewer advertising pages) and the cover price will remain at £3.00.
Next season’s programme will be printed and designed by Curtis Sport, who are based in Aldridge in the West Midlands.
At its summer meeting in June 2018, EFL Clubs will vote on a proposal that will determine whether or not it is an absolute requirement to produce a match programme from the start of season 2018/19 onwards.
A number of Clubs have asked the EFL if the mandatory publication of a match programme can be addressed as a result of an overall decline in sales and the proliferation of digital and social media, which has the ability to deliver the same content in a more cost effective manner.
Irrespective of the outcome at June’s AGM, The EFL will continue to produce a match programme for its five competitions finals (Carabao Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and the Sky Bet play offs).