In a move of firsts for the Indian Super League, Scottish football giants Rangers FC will broadcast six selected ISL matches to their UK audience, live on their Facebook channel for free. The decision, announced on its website, saw Rangers FC form a broadcasting partnership with the ISL management and Star Sports to promote and develop a fruitful, international relationship with the Indian fan base.
Another Step for the Scots in Indian Football?
Rangers FC are one of the first European teams to enter into a club partnership agreement with an ISL matches team. The Scottish side entered into a strategic tie with Bengaluru FC in September 2019 – a deal which will see the two club form synergies and develop the sport at a grassroots level in India. This deal will also see an exchange of technical information to help BFC get better at their game.
Now, following this broadcasting deal, the Scots are set to increase the scope of their influence further by helping the Indian Super League expand its international footprint.
The 2019-20 Scottish Premiership runners-up will live stream six selected matches on their Facebook channel to their UK audience. Not so surprisingly, five of these matches will feature Bengaluru FC.
In a way, this agreement is meant to emulate the high viewership enjoyed by the SPFL Premiership matches in India. Earlier this season, Rangers FC signed a landmark deal that will see Star Sports broadcast their matches and other fixtures for the 2020-21 season of the Premiership in the country.
In a statement released by the club, James Bisgrove – the Commercial and Marketing Director said, “We’ve also been hugely encouraged by the audience numbers in the several millions that have viewed Rangers SPFL Premiership matches live on STAR Sports in India already this season.”
This move can also help punters make the most of online football betting, allowing them to take advantage of features like live betting. This is certainly an exciting way to garner interest among the punters, who can take advantage of massive odds offered on the fixtures within the ISL matches betting.
The games that will be live-streamed are:
- ATK Mohun Bagan vs SC East Bengal – Friday, November 27
- Bengaluru FC vs Hyderabad FC – Saturday, November 28
- Bengaluru FC vs Kerala Blasters – Sunday, December 13
- Bengaluru FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan – Monday, December 21
- Bengaluru FC vs SC East Bengal – Saturday, January 9
- Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai City – Tuesday, January 5
A Big Boost for the Indian Super League
Even though it is the Bengaluru FC games that will be broadcasted live on their platform in the UK, this deal is going to help ISL matches as a whole.
The league has already done a fabulous job of roping in international players to increase its brand value. Now, it has a chance to showcase its talent and competitiveness at a global scale.
The current season of the ISL will see a few Scotsmen in action. Right off the bat, we have Danny Fox – the 34-year-old Scotland defender who has formerly played for the likes of Celtic, Burnley, and Southampton, will captain the league debutants SC East Bengal.
Similarly, Owen Coyle and Stuart Baxter – two of the most prolific and experienced Scottish managers will be respectively coaching Jamshedpur FC and Odisha FC.
As for Bengaluru FC, they may not have any players from Scotland in their team but they do have a pretty capable squad. They have finished in the top four every season they have participated in the ISL and have gone on to reach the finals twice. They were the champions in the 2018-19 season and the runners-up the season before.
The BFC side are also scheduled to visit Glasgow in July 2021 for a friendly game with the Rangers.
A Precedent for Other ISL Clubs too?
Bengaluru FC is not the only team in the ISL matches with a partnership agreement with a European giant. Hyderabad FC have joined hands with Borussia Dortmund for grassroots development, FC Goa are affiliated with Borussia Dortmund, and Mumbai City FC are partially owned by City Football Group – the same entity behind the English club Manchester City.
Clearly, the path for a broadcasting deal similar to that of Rangers FC is already there – it is just a matter of time and effort for the clubs to finalize the specifics. The aforementioned clubs have a massive fan-following across the continent and giving the ISL a chance to tap into that fan base can do wonders for the Indian football.
Whether it is the sports betting opportunities, exchange of synergies, or a way to grow the fan following, the Indian Super League is certainly moving ahead in the right direction. Just last season, India got a spot in the 2021 AFC Champions League and will be represented by FC Goa. Similarly, India’s FIFA ranking has also improved significantly since the launch of the ISL.
Needless to say, these kinds of partnership deals with other international clubs will help Indian football grow and develop to a great extent.