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ESPN+ tries to acquire Scottish Premiership rights for next 5 years

The agreement between ESPN and the Scottish Professional Football League is awaiting final signatures, so live coverage of select games is likely to begin in September after the clubs return from the international break. All of the matches selected for broadcast will be exclusively available via ESPN+ for $5.99/month (or $49.99/year). There’s no word yet whether select games may move to television, but it’s unlikely at this time.

After B/R Live decided not to renew the Scottish Premiership rights at the end of the 2019/20 season, the Scottish Professional Football League’s media partner Infront was given the task of selling the distribution rights to the top-flight Scottish league internationally. Unfortunately, despite interest from a number of broadcasters, Infront was unable to get an agreement signed in time for the beginning of the new season.

With both Celtic and Rangers having a significant supporters base in the United States, today’s news will come as a welcome relief for soccer fans who want to watch many of the best games from the top-flight Scottish league. Viewers in the United States have been accustomed to having access to watching the Scottish Premiership for the past decade or more. In the past, the rights to the Scottish league have been held by a range of broadcasters so the news that the agreement with ESPN is for five years is perhaps the best news of all. Scottish football has finally found a permanent home in the United States. After all, five years is practically a lifetime in the broadcast industry.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Scottish Premiership matches on US TV and streaming

Select games on ESPN+ at $5.99/month will be far more economical than subscribing directly to the streams provided by club TV channels such as Celtic TV ($196/season), Rangers TV ($315/season), Reds TV ($196/season for Aberdeen supporters), and so on through the official club websites.

World Soccer Talk understands that the deal also includes the Scottish Championship, League One and League Two, as well as Scottish Challenge Cup and League Cup competitions.

 

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55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. Steve

    October 25, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Just in case nobody noticed, ESPN Plus now seems to have the Scottish games. They only seem to be covering whatever game is live in Scotland, not all the games, but at least they have the big game each weekend.

  2. Dave Roland

    October 13, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Oh well. Back to pirated streams for Celtic games as Celtic TV isn’t worth $20 a month on it’s own

  3. Turfit

    October 10, 2020 at 11:34 am

    I understood that ESPN did not want to share the tv rights with iFollow, they wanted all SPL matches to be shown only on ESPN+.

  4. Mark S

    October 10, 2020 at 10:29 am

    So to sum things up for those who don’t want to listen to the podcast to get the info….FYI-They start talking about it with 35 minutes left in the podcast that Chris referenced in his response to my earlier post.

    It sounds like the hold up in regards to watching the SPL this year in the US has to do with the Scottish clubs and their iFollow/respective streaming services outside of the UK. It seems that there was a bit of a disagreement/misunderstanding between the SPL and ESPN+ when it came to the fact that SPL matches were already available to US viewers through the iFollow accounts of the SPL clubs….as in if people purchased CelticTV already well now they could view matches on ESPN+ too. Maybe they didn’t want to dilute their product? The comparison offered on the podcast was that if you purchased Man United iFollow, and then all of a sudden the EPL was available on NBCSN would people switch from Man United’s iFollow to the NBCSN EPL pack? I think that’s what they were trying to say in the podcast? My argument is, for the casual soccer fan…like myself…I have no interest whatsoever in watching just Rangers or just Celtic, I would like to watch the entire league. It seems like the SPL and ESPN+ just scored a massive own goal when it comes to the US rights for the league for 2020. I’m glad that I still get to watch the various Scottish cup games this year on ESPN+, however I guess I’m waiting until at least 2021 to watch the Old Firm in the league again.

  5. Matthew Chalmers

    October 9, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    So is it happening in 2021 or is it just plan not happening now

  6. Mark S

    October 9, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Chris-I appreciate you updating this article, however I feel/would appreciate a new article if possible on clearing up this mess. I get that the situation is more than likely quite complicated, and maybe you can’t say anything because it’ll jeopardize your sources at ESPN, however this whole thing is a bit fishy. World Soccer Talk is my go to website for soccer coverage, and it is a site that I recommend to anyone interested in the beautiful game. I get that misinformation happens from time to time, and I can’t remember too many times where something this site posted didn’t become true. Hopefully we’ll be able to watch in 2021.

  7. Matthew Chalmers

    October 9, 2020 at 10:36 am

    So is it not happening at all now or just not for this season

  8. Juan Gonzalez

    September 26, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Looking forward to see Rangers and their lead scorerer Alfredo Morelos in action/making a lot of goals.

  9. Cole Stark

    September 25, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Everything I see uses worldsoccertalk as their source so idk if this will happen either.

  10. jstrummer

    September 25, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    At his stage I’m kind of doubtful this will ever happen.

  11. Matthew Chalmers

    September 25, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    Any update on when it will start? Still nothing from ESPN’s end

  12. Michael McDade

    September 18, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Any updates on this? I just subscribed for ESPN+ primarily for SPFL but I don’t see any games scheduled for tomorrow nor Sunday?

    Thanks Chris for keeping us updated.

    MM

    • Christopher Harris

      September 18, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      Nothing this weekend, but we’re hopeful that everything will be hammered out soon.

  13. JP

    September 15, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Did ESPN+ lose some Championship coverage to iFollow? The FotMob TV schedules for the weekend have most listed on iFollow only along with League 2)

    • Christopher Harris

      September 15, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      JP, don’t rely on those numptys at FotMob. Check the trusted source (i.e. World Soccer Talk). Here’s the schedule:

      https://worldsoccertalk.com/championship-tv-schedule/

      The number of games on ESPN+ hasn’t changed at all since last season.

      • JP

        September 15, 2020 at 7:47 pm

        Thanks! That looks consistent with the numptys haha. Just couple matches, thought ESPN+ usually had them all but I’m probably mistaken and more like Eredivisie with select matches.

        Completely unrelated, the English language commentator for Colo Colo v Penarol is wildly entertaining! Any idea who he is?

        • JP

          September 15, 2020 at 8:39 pm

          Juan Arango, he needs to call more games, absolutely fantastic. Cadence of Andres Cordero with the enthusiasm of Ray Hudson but not outlandish. Also doing Santos v Olimpia. Double header.

          • R.O

            September 25, 2020 at 11:44 pm

            I’ve never liked Arango style or commentary. I remember once he and George D. Metellus got into a disagreement (argument) on air doing commentator for a game (it was when both were with goltv). Arango disagreed with Metellus on the quality of a player and Arango called Metellus stupid.

  14. Philip

    September 15, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Great news for us Dundee United fans as well!

  15. Cole Stark

    September 15, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you sir. Can’t wait. Miss seeing the SPL got used to it on br live hopefully ESPN carries 2-3 games a week

  16. Cole Stark

    September 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Do we have an update on this situation?

    • Christopher Harris

      September 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      We’re still waiting for ESPN to add games to their schedule.

  17. David K.

    September 11, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    As the business day comes to a close it looks like no SPL on ESPN+ yet. Nothing is showing up on their schedule.

    • Mark S

      September 11, 2020 at 4:39 pm

      I’ve been checking throughout the day on ESPN+ to see if they’ve added any matches, and I’m disappointed that I haven’t seen anything either. I was looking forward to watching the SPL after watching Arsenal play in the early kickoff.

      I’ve looked for confirmation on other sites to see if ESPN+ has indeed secured the rights, and all of the other sites reference World Soccer Talk with the info. Not saying that I don’t believe Chris, but I was looking for additional confirmation! 😂

      • Christopher Harris

        September 11, 2020 at 4:46 pm

        It’s frustrating guys, I know. I got another confirmation from someone inside ESPN this week that the deal is done. But ESPN still haven’t finalized their schedule of when games will begin. It’ll be this month. I just don’t know what date quite yet.

        • Jordon

          September 11, 2020 at 8:02 pm

          If the B/R Live Coverage is anything to go by, ESPN+ will only have those matches which are broadcast on Sky. That would explain the lack of matches this week, as Sky coverage doesn’t start again until next week Rangers’ match.

  18. Matthew Chalmers

    September 9, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Any update as to when the matchs will start streaming

    • Christopher Harris

      September 9, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      As soon as we know, we’ll update the schedule at https://worldsoccertalk.com/scottish-premiership-tv-schedule/

      Right now, we know the deal is done. We’re just waiting for ESPN to add the games to their schedules.

      • David McMathews

        September 9, 2020 at 7:23 pm

        Hi, thanks for the update and engaging in the comment section of the article you wrote. (Quite refreshing!)

        Will all games be streamed or just select ones? Just certain days?

  19. Ryan

    September 1, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Are there active negotiations right now to bring Belgian Pro League matches to the US now that B/R Live gave up the rights?

    • Christopher Harris

      September 1, 2020 at 7:32 pm

      The last I heard from the Belgian Pro League is that there were a few broadcasters interested but no one has picked up the rights yet.

  20. Walter

    August 31, 2020 at 2:03 am

    Brilliant News about Scottish premiership rights on ESPN + now all we need is Belgium pro league tv rights for the United States. Many thanks for all football tv rights updates. Walter

  21. rajvosa

    August 29, 2020 at 8:40 am

    ESPN FC Daily (Friday night show) has announced that all Saturday’s SPL games (10 am and 12:30 pm) will be available on ESPN+

    • David K.

      August 29, 2020 at 9:50 am

      I saw that as well. Not showing up yet, though with 10 mins to kickoff…

    • Christopher Harris

      August 29, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Looks like ESPN FC jumped the gun.

      • Elainedonne

        August 29, 2020 at 10:34 am

        But they definitely have the rights, yes?

        • Christopher Harris

          August 29, 2020 at 11:26 am

          Elainedonne, yes, they definitely have the rights. Matches will begin after the international break unless they can fast track things their plans ahead of tomorrow’s match.

          • elainedonne

            August 29, 2020 at 3:37 pm

            Great, thanks.

      • David K.

        August 29, 2020 at 10:58 am

        Pity. Hopefully they have the games after the international break.

      • David K.

        September 25, 2020 at 3:57 pm

        Curious how that could happen. Surely the producers and on air talent wouldn’t announce that they are airing games without the green light from someone higher up at ESPN confirming they had the rights? The whole situation is weird.

  22. Danny Tobin

    August 29, 2020 at 4:19 am

    Great to know as Celtic tv is a shambles at times and I can miss important parts of games, they really need to invest, so news that espn have the rights is fantastic .

  23. Calder

    August 28, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    All we need is Fubo and ESPN+

  24. Rye Brook

    August 28, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Great news & good reporting as usual from worldsoccerstalk. I’ll sign up again after taking a few months off since covid turned the world upside down wiping out most matches. Maybe i’ll support Motherwell as i think they they are a fan owned club. Surprised to be reminded, looking at the top flight table again, that Dundee FC [not Utd] did of course get relegated. Still, looks like ESPN+ will be showing them as well. What a channel!

  25. Jasinho

    August 28, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Wow five years, way to go! I love ESPN+

  26. Michal

    August 28, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Any news on the BelgiAn Jupiler Pro League?

  27. David K.

    August 28, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    ESPN+ remains the best single streaming option for The Beautiful Game.

  28. Ivan

    August 28, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    This is great news!!! I have been waiting for that for a while. 🙂

  29. Marc

    August 28, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Come On You Reds

  30. Carlos

    August 28, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Really good news. More value for ESPN Plus too and a good home for a league that many have been wanting to check out but do not want to invest in the Club streams.

  31. E Donne

    August 28, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Fantastic news! I thought a two year deal would be good, but five years shows real commitment. Well done, ESPN.

  32. Donald Duck

    August 28, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Man oh man this is awesome. However we will need to wait and see just how many of these matches they will show every week. Id love to see them all be on however my fear is they will only put on the top 3 to 5 matches on a given weekend like they do with Dutch Football.

  33. Mark S

    August 28, 2020 at 11:24 am

    This is great news! It makes sense since ESPN+ has the Scottish FA Cup rights as well. Looking forward to when matches will be on it.

  34. Turfit

    August 28, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Awesome!!!

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