ONE of the region’s football teams has become the first to provide a bespoke live audio commentary specifically for blind fans.

Newcastle United is working with charity British Wireless for the Blind Fund (BWBF) to launch the feed, which is aimed at improving both home and away matches for visually impaired

While many clubs do provide free audio commentary online, the feeds are locked in behind log-in authentication and wrapped up in flash players which can be very frustrating and almost impossible for people with sight loss to access on their own.

Loading article content

The feed has been specially designed to go out on BWBF’s streamed service, which has more than 800 listeners.

Final testing took place during the club’s 1-0 win against Burton Albion last week.

BWBF’s technology assistant Dave Beard said: “The results of the final test last week were extremely positive – the stream is 100 per cent stable and we didn’t experience any drops during the entire 90 minutes.

“We are really excited to be able to offer this to the many sports fans we know we have that enjoy our streamed service.

“It will have a massive impact on our blind and partially sighted listeners and we hope it will pave the way to even more accessible live football on our streamed service.”

Steve Swinyard, Newcastle’s head of safeguarding, welfare and equality, said: “As an organisation, we are committed to working towards football being accessible to all and we consider this work done to be a real success in this regard.

“I hope the service is used and enjoyed by many fans and adds real value to the overall support experience we offer.”

A message has been put out on the charity’s service so users know it is live.