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Leagues: Scottish Premiership

Future of Scottish Premiership up in the air for US viewers

The future of the Scottish Premiership on U.S. television and streaming is uncertain once again now that B/R Live is no longer streaming the top flight league in the United States.

During the 2019/20 season, B/R Live streamed on average 2-3 games per weekend. But with Bleacher Report deciding not to renew the rights to the Scottish Premiership, UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Belgian Pro League for next season, it has created a ball of confusion just weeks before the new season is scheduled to start.

In previous seasons, the broadcast rights to the Scottish Premiership have been passed around like a game of keep away from Fox Soccer Channel to FS1 to FS2 to FOX Soccer 2GO to FOX Soccer Plus and finally to B/R Live.

To make matters more confusing, ESPN+ has the rights to the Scottish FA Cup, while B/R Live has decided not to renew its rights to the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Challenge Cup.

So with B/R Live no longer streaming the Scottish Premiership featuring storied clubs including Celtic and Rangers, the question is whether the upcoming season will be broadcast. And if so, who?

While the Scottish Professional Football League could not be reached for comment about the future of the Scottish Premiership on U.S. airwaves, it’ll be difficult to find a broadcaster willing to air the top-flight Scottish league. First, there are the financial cutbacks that have happened across the industry where almost every major broadcaster has had layoffs. Second, the interest in the Scottish league continues to decline. And third and perhaps most importantly, who will bother to acquire the U.S. rights to the league when many of the clubs in the Scottish Premiership already stream their games online via subscription packages?

Most of the Scottish Premiership clubs already allow fans to subscribe to home and away games on services such as Celtic TV ($190/season), Rangers TV ($300/season), Reds TV ($150/season for Aberdeen supporters), and so on. At prices like these, you can see how devoted Scottish football fans are. But arguably, it’s a very niche league.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Scottish club games on US TV and streaming

There’s still the possibility that a broadcaster in the United States may find a way to stream select games from the league especially if the price is negligible. But given the history of the league in the United States in recent times, we may have to wait until a last minute decision is made before the new season starts on Saturday, August 1.

In the United Kingdom, it’s rosier news for the Scottish Premiership where the league has landed a new deal. Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said: “We are looking forward to the start of our new, exclusive broadcast deal with Sky Sports. Sky has been an extremely supportive partner throughout this process, not least in allowing our top-flight clubs to offer their season ticket holders a ‘virtual season ticket’ while matches have to be played behind closed doors and we are all excited about embarking on this new partnership.”

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Marc

    July 29, 2020 at 7:38 am

    Gaffer anything on this? Season starts this weekend. Thank you for your time

    • Christopher Harris

      July 29, 2020 at 8:41 am

      Nothing yet, Marc. They must be scrambling to try to get a deal signed before season starts.

  2. Josh

    July 9, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Hmm, bummer. I was actually thinking about getting into the SPL this year and maybe following Celtic if ESPN+ would pick some of their games up again. While I’m thankful for club feeds, $190 or $300 is just too much to swing to follow a single team. Heck, it makes iFollow’s $140 price point to stream Coventry City the last few years look like a bargain.

  3. Eddy

    July 9, 2020 at 11:36 am

    The bigger question is why the SPL has fallen in stature and popularity since the Fox Soccer Channel days of the mid 2000’s

  4. Jason

    July 9, 2020 at 10:06 am

    I like the Scottish league. It reminds me of English football back in the 20th century in terms of atmosphere and the stadiums. Hope ESPN+ picks it up.

  5. Jon

    July 9, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Would love to see beIN sports pick this up.

  6. Marc

    July 9, 2020 at 7:34 am

    TIms and Huns supporters here in the states would probably want ESPN+ to pick it up. Since their matches are on every week it would save them money instead of having Tims TV or Huns TV

  7. EC

    July 8, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    All depends on how much the Scottish League will cost the broadcaster. Eleven Sports, which had the Belgian Jupiter League before B/Live picked it up, and currently shows the K-League (Korea) might be a taker if the price is right. ES]PN+ is another possibility, although they have already added the Bundesliga for the upcoming season.

  8. JP

    July 8, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    More interested in where then Belgian league goes. Would sometimes watch when One World Sports/Eleven Sports had it a few years ago. Seems like something for ESPN+ to add to the Dutch and Danish leagues.

    • Michal

      July 9, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Yeah love watching that. Hopefully my trainwreck club, Anderlecht can do better next season.

    • DiRT

      July 9, 2020 at 10:05 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! When I first got FuboTV, back in the $15 era, I fell in love with the Belgian Pro League. I used Covid as an excuse to rewatch those games, but the B/R Live app was total trash. I don’t care who gets it, I’ll sub to that service/channel to watch.

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