As the calendar is set to flip to July another Aston Villa season is on the horizon. The fixture dates are out, TV dates to be announced (Five Villa matches moved already with Preston away joining previously announced Birmingham city home & away, Brentford on Boxing Day, and Hull City in March). Kits to be shown off at the end of this week... but international fans still don't know how/where they can watch the team.
There are two sides to the uncertainty.
The EFL has not announced the broadcast rights here in the United States with expiration of the BeIN Sports contract. The EFL says an announcement will be made prior to the season (I certainly hope it won't be made during the campaign).
A final announcement for International Streaming is in the works. The club’s new Chief Commercial Officer Luke Organ explained the decision to shun iFollow and use the infrastructure already in place,
"We didn't go down that route because it required wholesale changes to our website and our app -- and essentially involved giving ownership back to the league of those club assets... I think that iFollow is fantastic but doesn't quite meet our needs whilst retaining independence. So we are now pilling through tenders and getting things aligned so we will be broadcasting our own games that aren't picked by the broadcast partners, and we will not therefore use the EFL solution."
Read more of the wide ranging interview.
I'll admit to being not happy at first that Villa weren't going to join up. But upon reflection and readying Organ's explanation -- it makes sense. Aston Villa is a huge brand and wants to own as much content as possible (as any organization would). So with most of the infrastructure already in place for a streaming service it makes sense to improve AVTV (or whatever it will be called) and keep it in house.
Hopefully answers will come soon, meanwhile I’ll just keep refreshing twitter and awaiting announcements.