Life in the old prog yet – the battle for the physical matchday programme




I can’t work out if it’s just my ‘social media bubble’, but the furore about digital and/or physical programmes appears to have been given a good stoking now fans are back at grounds.

I think it’s probably got a little bit to do with the news that a number of professional clubs are ditching physical issues in favour of electronic versions, or in Reading’s case the idea of an occasional publication.

There are myriad reasons why clubs decide they won’t produce physical programmes anymore, whether it’s financial, time pressures or even just know-how. Or a combination of all of those.

And the reasons for wanting physical programmes are not to be dismissed in this either, for some it’s a lifelong collection, a memento from games they’ve been to or simply just part of a day at the football.

I come at this as an ex-programme editor writing in your programme today, so I’d not have the opportunity to reach you were it not for that, but I also get why clubs have stopped physical versions because I’ve seen first hand the amount that are recycled week after week.

The thing that irks me the most, is there are significant personalities out there urging people to avoid clubs not printing a programme, which seems a little extreme and frankly, wrong.

There’s got to be a smarter way, if clubs are producing online efforts, then there could surely be an upsell/premium opportunity for a printed version to be posted to anyone that wanted one later on?

The thing I’ve taken from most comments I’ve seen online is that actually, a printed team sheet would be good, clubs could utilise these in various ways to get messages across particularly with QR codes to get some clever engagement going.

The statement from Reading FC on matchday programmes for 2021/22

Unfortunately, we will not be producing a matchday programme for the 2021/22 season.

The time, effort and expense of producing a publication for every home match each season should not be underestimated and, as digital formats of communication have rapidly become more expansive, the role of the programme has diminished – matchday sales being indicative of this shift in recent seasons.

We continue to explore viable opportunities for a printed form of communication with our supporters and vitally gauge the potential demand for a monthly or quarterly magazine for Royals fans.

However, we are also aiming to increase our focus on the provision of App-exclusive content for our fans throughout 2021-22.

Our newly-launched App is available for iOS from the App Store and for Android from Google Play. It’s your handy companion for when you’re out and about – allowing direct access to all of our news, video content, as well as the option to receive push notifications in order to receive breaking news as soon as it drops, directly from the club.

And it is free!


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