The on-again off-again deal between the Scottish Professional Football League and ESPN+ has finally crossed the line and been completed.
Beginning this Saturday, the historic deal between ESPN+ and Scottish Premiership will kick off with the Old Firm Derby between Celtic and Rangers, to be streamed beginning at 7:30AM ET on ESPN+.
As part of the agreement, ESPN+ will carry at least one Scottish Premiership match per week, beginning October 17, and will also have coverage of select matches from the Scottish Championship, Betfred Cup (Scottish League Cup) and Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup (Scottish Challenge Cup). The U.S. media rights include both English and Spanish to the Scottish Premiership, the top professional soccer league in Scotland.
“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 lineup of soccer available in the U.S.,” said Russell Wolff, executive vice president and general manager, ESPN+.
The Scottish Premiership is one of the oldest and most-storied leagues in football, and features one of the most intense rivalries in any sport – the “Old Firm” rivalry between Celtic F.C. and Rangers F.C. The first competitive derby between the two was in 1888, two years before the launch of the Scottish League in 1890. Rangers have a slight lead in the matchup with 162 wins. Celtic has 159 victories, and there has been 99 ties for a total 420 competitive matches between the clubs. The “Old Firm” will become a hallmark of the Scottish Premier League on ESPN+.
ESPN+ is home to the most comprehensive collection of live soccer available on one platform in the United States, offering over 2000 matches per year from Bundesliga, Serie A, the English FA Cup and Carabao Cup, Spanish Copa Del Rey, Scottish Premiership, Dutch Eredivisie, Major League Soccer, EFL Championship, USL and more.
For soccer fans in the United States, it’s been a frustrating season thus far after B/R Live declined to renew its rights deal at the end of last season. Then in August 2020, a spokesperson from the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) confirmed to World Soccer Talk that a deal between the SPFL and ESPN+ had been agreed. After confirming with two other sources that the deal was on the verge of being announced, we ran with the news before only later discovering that the deal had hit a brick wall due to several issues and had not been signed until now.
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