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Can Scottish Football Fans Afford Another Subscription?

Date: 13th November 2018

Yesterday The SFA proudly announced that they had struck a new TV deal regarding the Scottish Cup. 

Broadcasters Premier Sports and BBC Scotland will offer live coverage of the major competition until 2024. It will see each network broadcast two live games per round until the semi-final stage. From then on, Premier Sports will have exclusive rights to one semi final fixture and the other will be on both channels as will the final. 

While it’s great that a terrestrial station will cover more live games, the introduction of Premier Sports means the Scottish football fans will need to fork out for another subscription. 

If you are a supporter of top flight football in Scotland then to watch all the live games you will currently have to pay Sky Sports £18 a month (Scottish Premiership and Scotland games) and BT Sports £27.99 per month (Scottish Premiership, European games and League Cup). These are the basic prices subject to offers that might be available to you. If you are a BT broadband customer you can get that down to £12 a month, for example. So roughly that works out at between £30 and £60 a month to watch Scottish football. You also have to add the yearly TV licence (£150.50 per annum) to watch BBC and added extras you might have on SKY or a similar company. 

Now you’ll need to add in Premier Sports when they start broadcasting Scottish Cup games. At the moment you can get a recurring monthly contact of £9.99 for their standard package or an annual fee of £99. 

So yearly Scottish football fans could be paying anything up to £822.26 if they are on the basic packages without any deals. That’s a lot of money to just watch the game on the telly. The bills will only go up if you want watch more English Premier League fixtures, other sports like golf, boxing or rugby. 

Then you will have the fans that turn up to most games, like their teams home fixtures. That will include prices of a ticket or tickets, possibly food/beverage prices, getting to the game costs and those that want merchandise. 

You also have to remember that the supporters are exposed to betting companies due to sponsorship of our major competitions and our clubs, with the aim of enticing them to gamble even more money. 

Now don’t get me wrong. No one is physically making people pay for these TV subscriptions or to shell out money to support their teams. 

We also have to understand that there’s financial sense to selling our tv rights to the  highest bidder. A lot of us moan that we don’t get the best price from networks to broadcast our game. It’s a vicious cycle. 

But where’s the breaking point? When does there come a time when we start fleecing our supporters just because we know they are loyal to their teams? 

Plus what happens with the money? Where does it go? Will fans get discounts on tickets because the TV pot is bigger? Or will it go straight into the pockets of the people running the game and our teams? 

It’s hard to accept that the fans of our game are making a stand to help society; supporters are organising food collections and toy drives to help our vulnerable. Yet our game gets richer and the rewards don’t seem to benefit those same supporters!   

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