Before this season started, the clubs and the broadcasters had a big decision to make in relation to the television deal. The clubs wanted some way to sell tickets even without fans in the ground, and so Sky gave up some of its exclusivity rights.
It turned up to be a good move for most of the teams in the league, allowing them to market Virtual Season Tickets.
But of course, things have changed now and fans are inside the grounds again.
We’re playing games with full houses, which really none of us expected to happen this year. The understanding between the TV broadcasters and the clubs now look a little daft, except to those who have managed to sell large numbers of pay per view packages.
Sky has to be looking at this for themselves, in the next campaign, and if that’s what happens then we’ll all have a decision to make.
There was a time when you were virtually guaranteed to see Celtic and our rivals on the telly every week; that must have been infuriating for every other supporter in the country. This game has been built on that model for too long.
But let’s be honest, we’ve missed out on a couple of big games already and all told we’re going to miss out on more.
So has the TV audience. Aberdeen v Celtic last week was an obvious tie to put on the telly, but so is Motherwell v Celtic, and Hibs v Celtic is certainly a match that neutrals would have been dying to watch. Why aren’t they on?
You can understand us paying for the occasional game on PPV; it will make up for all the years that fans of other sides didn’t get to see their teams live at all.
We also tend to forget the bubble we live in; if we played in England we’d see our side on the telly once in a blue moon.
Our situation up here is almost unique in that the TV contract is built around two teams who in the normal run of things get to see their teams play all the time. This season seems like a one-off in that regard, but what if it’s not?
If Sky gets into the PPV games business for themselves this might end up the norm.
We’ll still have opportunities that other club fans don’t, but it’ll be expensive, every other week. You’re talking about a big chunk of change on top of current subscriptions, on top of current season tickets and on and on. If things go back to normal remember how lucky we are.
But right now the policy is a joke.
Not only are Celtic fans paying through the nose but games that fans up and down the country would want to watch aren’t being shown. Unless the contract limits how many games a team can be involved in (and I can’t imagine that it does) then our club should be asking for some clarity on the issue.