National League sets ambitious targets
The National Leage has set itself some ambitous targets in a new four year strategy entitled 'Growing our Game' covering the period 2016 to 2020.
It wants to increase annual attendances from 1.5m to 1.7m. It wants live broadcast matches to go up from 25 to 40 per seaon and to increase commercial revenues by 50 per cent. The target for social media following is an increase from 750,000 to 1 million.
Attendances are really outside the league's control. A great deal depends on the composition of the league in terms of promotion and relegation with six teams changing every year.
For example, if a Football League club with a substantial following like Tranmere Rovers gets relegated into the National League, there is an attendance boost. Dagenham & Redbridge and York City this year don't compensate for Cheltenham and Grimsby.
North Ferriby United have come up, but they play in a relatively isolated village with a population of 4,000. Hungerford Town, also promoted, had an average home attendance of around 150 last season, although promotion should boost that figure.
The league received a boost with the news that Vanarama have extended their existing title sponsorship deal. A 12-rolling contract will see them continue for at least a fourth year up to June 2018.