Well, not exactly, but lucky, lucky Chinese sports fans will now be able to watch the Scottish Premiership (previously known as the SPL) on PPTV, a popular Chinese online TV streaming platform. Details of the deal haven’t been released, but you have to imagine PPTV isn’t paying anything for the rights, and the SPFL isn’t in much of a state to pay to place their league on Chinese screens, so it would likely be a low risk venture on both sides: free content for PPTV and a chance to grow the brand (such as it is) for the SPFL. There must be some money in it though, since it was brokered by MP & Silva, the SPFL’s new international licensing parter.
What is equally unclear is who will watch this. Scotland’s top division is currently ranked by UEFA as the 23rd best league in Europe, behind must-watch leagues such as the Vysheyshaya Liga (Belarus), the Ekstraklasa (Poland) and the Cypriot First Division. Scotland’s nationwide ranking has actually moved up one place in recent weeks. Celtic is historically a big club (1967 European Cup winners), but there are 58 other teams ranked higher right now – and that’s just in Europe. How many Scottish expats can possibly be in China, and how many of those are Scottish soccer fans?
The whole thing makes PR phrases such as “great addition”, “premium content” and “significant presence” ring even more hollow than they usually do in situations of this sort. But at least it gives us some China-Scotland news to talk about that doesn’t involve pandas.