SPFL realise size of new audience as Celtic debutant gets YouTube treatment

By Euan Davidson

January 20, 2022

The SPFL have realised just how big their YouTube audience is, with new Celtic man Reo Hatate getting his own exclusive video.

After the success of the highlights from Celtic v Hibs, the SPFL released a video of Hatate’s every touch against the Edinburgh side. Call it capitalising on a recent success if you will, but you can’t argue it’s a good watch.

The Japanese Olympian was integral to a significant win over Shaun Maloney’s side, providing quality pass after quality pass, and winning the Man of the Match award. Pundits and fans alike were left absolutely stunned by Hatate’s technical ability and vision.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

It’s certainly not a move we’ve seen the SPFL take before. However, videos of Kyogo’s debut and Maeda’s strike the other night have done colossal numbers for the league.

Surely cognisant of that, we’re likely to see more content geared for Japanese viewers, who are finely tuned to the goings-on of their favourite footballers. Former Kawasaki Frontale man Hatate, twice a J League winner, seemingly fits that description for many.

Here’s the video, where you can see Hatate’s debut in all of its glory.

You can imagine that the SPFL work hard on audience engagement.

Well, this is doing it. Since his debut, Hatate has become a big story in Scottish football. With attention from the Far East already on Celtic and the Scottish Premiership, this makes utter sense.

There’s something almost hypnotic about watching him play. It’s not as if he’s some trickster, doing a million step-overs and launching a Hollywood pass. It’s more satisfying than that, just watching a good footballer play well.

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Good call from the SPFL as Celtic man Reo Hatate continues to dazzle with debut performance

Is it possible the SPFL are going overboard here? Fans of other clubs will undoubtedly say so. “Where was the “every touch” video for Kevin van Veen’s debut?!”, the comments section may or may not squeal.

For us, though, it’s a gift. You could argue that it’s maybe a wee bit cynical, given how the SPFL audience on YouTube has grown since Kyogo joined Celtic. But the SPFL have a “product” to sell overseas. This is the kind of thing that grows engagement on a worldwide basis.

As Celtic grow their worldwide audience, the league will want to be right with them. As we await the findings of a Deloitte report on Scottish football, why wouldn’t the league highlight the new Japanese stars of the Scottish Premiership?

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

It stands to reason that they want to showcase the appeal that the nation’s game can have across continents.

So, from a marketing point of view, this makes sense. From an aesthetics view, it makes sense – and if you don’t believe me, watch Reo Hatate ping passes across the opposition half again.

If you’re a Celtic fan, it’s a present for a Thursday evening.

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