THE SPFL have an opportunity to substantially increase their income from overseas broadcasting rights following the collapse of their existing arrangement with MP & Silva, it was claimed yesterday.

The governing body have terminated an agreement that was struck back in 2013 after the London-based sports agency defaulted on payments and are currently working to provide international broadcasters with a signal from forthcoming fixtures.

But Professor Richard Haynes of Stirling University, an expert in sports broadcasting rights, questioned whether the company, which has worked with Formula 1, the Premier League and Serie A in the past, ever truly maximised the earning potential of the game in this country.

Professor Haynes believes the SPFL now has an outstanding chance to cash in on the huge numbers of Celtic and Rangers fans who live abroad, in Australia and the United States in particular, and bank millions of pounds for their leading clubs.

“It is unfortunate for the SPFL to be in this position and to have to pull out of the deal,” he said. “I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make. But, at the same time, it opens up opportunities for them to strike deals which will be more lucrative and broaden the reach of Scottish football.

“I don’t think MP & Silva have been selling Scottish football appropriately or as the SPFL might have wanted them to. That’s always a danger with global intermediaries like MP & Silva. They have some very blue chip sports in their portfolio. Scottish football probably came very low down their priorities and list of things they are going to sell to channels around the world.

“Celtic and Rangers have, along with Manchester United and one or two other clubs, the biggest audience out there who want to see their games. Ex-patriots, second and third generation families who have kept their ties and traditions of following these clubs. It is huge, it really is massive. It is definitely a market for TV companies to exploit.

“It is a good opportunity for the SPFL to find a more appropriate intermediary to sell the rights overseas. There are a lot of companies with expertise in this area which they can draw upon.

“There are new players in town; DAZN, Premier, beIN SPORTS. There are a number of dedicated sports distributors and providers who are looking for content to fill their channels. It is a very different landscape from 2013. It has changed quite considerably. Even the likes of Sky and BT are on shaky ground in some areas.

“This is a chance for the SPFL to look at it again. I have always thought that Scottish football has been undersold. It might be an opportunity for them to find a more appropriate vehicle. It might be internet led. For me, that is the direction of travel. A lot of sport is gravitating there. That is how a lot of people view it.”

Professor Haynes continued: “The SPFL have to be clever when it comes to how they market Scottish football going forward for it to be lucrative enough.

“There are a lot of people who feel the product has been good but hasn’t been packaged properly. Even European games. The recent Rangers games are a good example. Fans struggled to find a legitimate source to watch their Europa League qualifiers or had to pay £10 over and above the package they already have. It is the right time to look at it again.

“It is starting to add up – the expense of these different subscriptions. You have the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Apple and You Tube who are also increasingly interested in these type of rights.

“Getting the right intermediary to package what they have got in a way that is sensible and doesn’t upset consumers and make them move more towards pirated feeds is important for the SPFL.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Scottish football is growing in popularity at home and abroad.

“We are working to ensure that fans across the globe are able to enjoy matches from the Ladbrokes SPFL, the Betfred Cup and the IRN-BRU Cup as normal this season. This also allows us to explore opportunities to give even more fans worldwide the chance to watch our games.

Fans in no fewer than 167 overseas countries watched Ladbrokes SPFL and Betfred Cup matches last season.