Chief executive Nigel Clibbens says Carlisle United expect to bring in more than £250,000 over the course of the season from the iFollow streaming service.

The live streaming of games has been a lifeline to fans who have been prevented from attending matches because of Covid-19.

It has also proved a very useful source of income to the Blues at a time their normal revenues have been seriously hit by the absence of supporters on matchdays.

“It’s been really important in helping to make up that gap,” Clibbens said of iFollow.

“After 21 games we were at £138,000 and if you work that up for a full season you’re probably looking at over £250,000.

“That’s really welcome and it goes to putting us in the position that we’re in now.

“It’s been really interesting how it’s tracked,” he added. “We started off really strongly then we kind of reached a plateau. We had the break [in January], and since that break the numbers have got even better.

“It is really interesting and I think the fans have grasped it. A lot of the initial teething troubles have gone away and they’ve got really comfortable with signing up and using it.

“Winning matches helps, so we’ve seen the numbers grow and, again, it’s big numbers and we need it to continue to thanks for the support from everybody who tunes in and uses it.

“What I do know is that when you have three games in eight days and that goes on and on for weeks and months the cash cost mounts up, so we’re grateful for everybody who does subscribe.”

United's supporters' trust CUOSC said the Harrogate game earlier this month attracted Carlisle's biggest following of 1,798 paying subscribers, with 1,421 paying to watch the match at Salford four days later.

The fans' group have also raised the question of whether iFollow will remain in regular operation once fans are allowed to return to games in their normal numbers.

"CUOSC have always opposed the televising of games at 3pm on a Saturday believing it would discourage people from attending Brunton Park in person," the trust say in their latest News & Star column.

"But iFollow may mean the genie is out of the box.

"The streaming service would bring in extra income from supporters that cannot get to the game for whatever reason. And away matches, in particular, could be popular with time and expense sometimes making it impossible for fans to travel."