SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster says quiet discussions are taking place with Sky Sports to make more live games available to supporters next season, STV report.
With Celtic matches potentially having to take place behind closed doors for a significant chunk of the 2020/21 season, it makes no sense for those games to take place without fans being able to watch the action in some manner.
Technology being what it is in 2020 means that it’s viable for live broadcasts to take place and treat fans at home despite being unable to attend, even if on a pay-per-view basis.
However, an exclusive TV deal with Sky Sports kicks in this summer, worth a reported £125m across five seasons.
The broadcaster holds the rights to air 48 live Scottish Premiership matches.
More could now be on our TV screens next season, with league chief Doncaster telling STV: “There is scope to have a conversation with our broadcast partners and perhaps make games more available to the fans who simply aren’t allowed into stadia.
“I think it’s important those conversations take place quietly. Those conversations are definitely happening.
“They’ll happen across the rest of the UK. Sky, BT and Amazon all have rights in the English Premier League.
“In our case, we have an exclusive deal which starts with Sky Sports in August and that’s just with Sky, so perhaps that makes it easier.”
We know from previous SPFL statements that the concept of virtual season tickets is being explored by the health crisis Joint Response Group, though no model or further details have yet been presented to supporters or news outlets.
That’s going to be key if fans are expected to buy into the initiative. No doubt some will even be interested in how the income from it all is distributed.
If the games are pay-per-view, will the cash from Celtic fans be going directly to Celtic, or will it be more equally shared to help out smaller, more vulnerable teams?
It seems, for now, the SPFL are happy to keep these discussions strictly in-house.
However, this issue is critical for the viability of behind-closed-door matches and more communication in the coming weeks is necessary.