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ESPN+ acquire rights to broadcast Scottish Premiership

American streaming service, ESPN+ has secured the rights to show Scottish top flight football, becoming the new international home for the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Championship, Betfred Cup and Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup.

The Disney-owned service have secured a reported one-season deal which will see at least one Scottish Premiership game air per week.

ESPN+ which launched in April 2018, kicked off their coverage on the 17th of October with the highly anticipated Old Firm Derby, which resulted in Rangers extending their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-0 victory over fierce rivals Celtic.

Russell Wolff, executive vice president and general manager of ESPN+ spoke highly of the new broadcast deal with the SPFL and gave an insight to what ESPN+ subscribers should expect from Scottish football.

“The Scottish Premiership on ESPN+ will offer fans tradition, intensity, rivalries and some of the most passionately supported clubs in the world – and will add further to the most comprehensive line-up of soccer available in the U.S.”

The Walt Disney Company announced that it gained 7.9 million U.S. subscribers at the end of its second fiscal quarter of 2020 and further predicts an increase to between 8 and 12 million subscribers by the end of 2024.

An increase of international viewers could see a rise in popularity for the SPFL, with this creating a bigger global fan base and also more opportunities for clubs to secure lucrative sponsorships.

The deal with ESPN+ was the second major international rights deal for the SPFL this month as Rangers agreed a monumental deal with Indian broadcasters Star Sports.

Star Sports, also owned by Disney brokered a deal with Rangers that agreed to the live broadcast of more than 15 Scottish Premiership fixtures throughout the 2020/21 season.

What’s more with other countries such as Russia, Germany, Austria, Poland and Switzerland now having the rights to broadcast Scottish football the potential audience could be invaluable for the future for the game in Scotland

With the SPFL already securing a £150million deal with Sky Sports for games to be shown domestically, the addition of being broadcasted internationally could not only see a boost in revenues for clubs but an increase to their reputation.

Author: William Hebb