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.
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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