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Wrexham’s Reynolds criticises streaming ban

Wrexham’s Hollywood co-owner Ryan Reynolds has criticised the National League ban on clubs streaming matches.

Reynolds says the decision to bar clubs from streaming games either domestically or internationally is “truly baffling”. He believes the league is denying its clubs the chance to increase revenue as well as their respective fanbases. BT Sport has held broadcasting rights to the National League since 2013, with the current deal running until 2024. Reynolds took charge of National League promotion hopefuls Wrexham alongside fellow actor Rob McElhenney in 2021.

Writing on social media, Reynolds said: “After months of maximum effort, the decision (through inaction of the Vanarama National League) to not allow domestic/international streaming of matches of Wrexham and the other clubs in the league is truly baffling, depriving every team in our league the chance to expand the fanbase while adding to league revenue [which] benefits everyone. “This is a spotlight and a chance and we ask the Vanarama National League to take it.” Reynolds also called on league sponsors Vanarama and BT Sport “to help them (the league) find the wisdom” to change the rules. Vanarama responded to Reynolds on social media, saying they “are in favour of live streaming as long as it benefits all clubs in the league and is what the fans want”.

They said they will “talk to” the league and BT Sport “to make sure our voice is heard”. The National League said it is in advanced discussions about the introduction of an OTT streaming service that would allow clubs to show matches on their own media channels that are not shown live on BT Sport. “We have been working intensely for some months to finalise a proposal to launch a centralised, fully tested, Vanarama National League streaming platform. This proposal goes to the Board for consideration at their meeting on 15th September,” the organisation said in a statement.

“The proposal will recognise that we must respect and protect the status of the League and also BT Sport’s high production values and ensuring an approach which guarantees quality of service and the needs of all our clubs and their fans. “We understand the desire from some clubs, who find themselves in a position to stream independently and we respect that, however there is a requirement for the League to protect and provide a solution for all three divisions. “We will always take into account the views of individual clubs, but it is imperative that we look after the interests of 72 member clubs and doing as much as we can to deliver income, profile and support for all.”

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