Sport on the sofa: Rangers, Celtic and Lionel Messi, watching with no crowds again - David Oliver talks you through this week's sport on TV
So in the week of the first Old Firm game of the season – hotly anticipated and difficult to predict – each has a chance to establish some bragging right BEFORE they meet up on Sunday, when they both fly out for Europa League play-offs on Thursday.
Rangers’ 4pm kick-off in Armenia will be free-to-air in the afternoon on BBC Scotland but Celtic will be behind a paywall on Premier Sports at 7pm in Holland.
Who will pay? How many will watch? Who will draw the biggest audience figures? And does it really matter so long as both progress?
What will happen on Sunday when both teams meet live on Sky?
The eyes of the country, the football world and the entire Celtic fanbase will be on the box come Sunday lunchtime because, with Rangers going home-fans only for the game, Sky Sports is the only place to see it now.
There will be no away fans at Ibrox and – in what is maybe a loose link for this week’s sport on TV suggestions – there are no fans at all for the week’s other major event – the Paralympics.
Fans have been advised to stay away so Channel 4 will lead the coverage with Clare Balding fronting evening round-ups after live events throughout the day and More4 showing team events.
It’s exactly 364 days since the Games should have begun and they’ll give armchair sports fans their day-time live sports fill along with England’s third cricket test.
On Saturday, Manchester City v Arsenal live at lunchtime on BT Sports, Liverpool v Chelsea on Sky Sports’ Saturday Night football at tea-time look like appetising viewing with a glut of glamorous names but really, they pale in the shadow of the big game in Scotland, and struggle to compete with Lionel Messi’s debut for Paris Saint-Germain.
This is it. The pièce de résistance. The story of the summer. Sunday night. It’s happening.
Stade de Reims are a fairly historic name in football, and there will be a little piece of modern football history when the finest free transfer the world has ever seen dons a club shirt that isn’t Barcelona’s, although the dark blue and red is pretty close.
BT Sport landed on their feet when they extended the Ligue 1 broadcast rights for the coming season at the start of June and PSG promptly played real-life FIFA Ultimate team recruiting Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos to join Neymar Junior and Kylian Mbappe before the value of that agreement multiplied with Messi’s arrival.
It’ll be a strange sight, but required viewing on BT’s secondary channel from 7.30pm. Even if Messi doesn’t play there’s still enough for the casual football fan with the wealth of talent and names on show.
There’s about as much money swirling around the Parc de Princes as there is in the billionaires’ playground of Formula One and, if you’re of a petrol persuasion, there’s a pretty decent title battle shaping up between Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and their respective teams as the season hits halfway at the Belgian Grand Prix.
A two-horse title race with a key meeting on Sunday? That’s worth the watching.