SCOTTISH football will be screened live to up to 60 million viewers in China as part of a long-term deal which is expected to bring in £2million a year to clubs.
The Scottish Professional Football League has announced a broadcast deal with Chinese partner PPLive TV which is part of a wider 10-year, £20 million international deal with sports media rights firm MP & Silva.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster was joined in Beijing with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell to announce the deal.
58 live games a year
A total of 58 SPFL matches will be screened live in China as part of the online station’s European football selection, which also includes Spanish and English games.
Doncaster said: “This is a brilliant result for Scottish football and the Scottish Professional Football League. This deal will showcase the Scottish game to up to 60 million people across China and opens up a huge marketplace in the world’s fastest growing economy.
“We want to build on this opportunity, not only in China but across other significant global markets, and discussions with several potential partners are ongoing.
“We aim to significantly raise the profile and popularity of our game among global audiences, with the resultant financial spin-offs and commercial opportunities for the SPFL and our member clubs.”
‘Building fan base’
Lawwell added: “The English Premier League experience shows that giving overseas audiences the chance to watch games week-in, week-out is the key to building an international fan base.
“Celtic FC has already played a leading role in promoting the Scottish game to global audiences, mainly through our recent participation and successes in the UEFA Champions League, and we see China as a country with enormous potential.
“This deal shows the ambition of the SPFL and its clubs to continue to expand the Scottish game into new worldwide territories.”
Scottish National Party leader Salmond, who is in China on a trade mission, added: “There is clearly a growing appetite for European football coverage in China and now football fans across this country will be able to enjoy the action from iconic Scottish footballing venues such as Easter Road, Fir Park and Pittodrie.
“There have been some tough times in Scottish football over recent years, but with news today that clubs can look forward to a £20 million boost as part of this fantastic international broadcasting deal, I am confident the fans can look forward to a bright future.”