Celtic and SPL matches will not be televised on Fox Sports this season as the network chose not to pick up the league’s rights for the 2017-18 season.
Celtic FC and Scottish Premier League fans in the United States are going to have a harder time than usual catching their clubs’ matches this season as no domestic network has secured the broadcast rights.
In recent years Fox Sports would broadcast a handful of games every week on the Fox Soccer 2 Go streaming channel and the Old Firm matches would be shown on either FS1 or FS2 but that will not be the case this season.
Many of the top clubs in the SPL, including Celtic and Rangers, will be broadcasting their matches through their own streaming packages on their respective websites. Like Fox Soccer 2 Go , these streaming packages will not be free and will cost in the range of $2-300 depending on the team.
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According to WorldSoccerTalk.com, Celtic TV will cost $196 for access to every match along with some exclusive programming. A few other clubs such as Chelsea FC have launched similar exclusive channels but they of course do not have the right to broadcast the senior team’s live matches so the cost is much lower.
While this may not be a big hindrance for the hard-core Celtic fans in the US, this may impact the growth of the game in this country as it will limit the exposure to casual fans. Football hungry fans may have logged in to Fox Soccer 2 go and chosen to watch an SPL match but they will no longer have that opportunity.
The Old Firm matches are also an excellent chance to bring in the casual fans as even those who do not follow the league are aware of the great rivalry between the two clubs but they will not be televised either. Perhaps Fox Sports or ESPN could make a one time arrangement to showcase one of football’s oldest and most intense rivalries.
If anything this news is just another sign that shows us where live programming, and live sports in particular, are heading. The NFL and MLB have already streamed matches on Twitter and MLS regularly streams matches on Facebook. More and more leagues are choosing to broadcast their games online as we move towards a more à la carte type of television. The SPL and Celtic are simply following that trend and giving the fans more access to the club, but at a price.