Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson appeared on Rangers TV last night to give fans an update on various issues surrounding the club – but the failure to address fan concerns over the announcement of virtual season tickets has left far more questions than answers.
Robertson spoke for over 15 minutes on Rangers TV without ever properly going into much detail over what virtual season tickets actually consist of and it is doing the club – and others in Scottish football – no favours whatsoever.
🎥 Every Season Ticket Holder will have complimentary access to all Premiership home games via @RangersTV if the season begins behind closed doors.
An RTV update from Managing Director Stewart Robertson. pic.twitter.com/MeTJd55eaD
— RangersTV (@RangersTV) June 3, 2020
Fans who haven’t purchased a season ticket for the 2020/21 season face being locked out of Scottish football beyond the single game broadcast by Sky each week – despite the broadcaster allowing clubs to live stream each home game through their own club media channels.
Rather than opening that up and allowing thousands of non-season ticket holders to purchase a ‘virtual ticket’ and allow clubs to generate some much-needed income, it has been decided to lock them out completely.
While there’s no question that the vast majority of fans attending Ibrox on a matchday are season ticket holders – some 47,000 of them last season – if anyone thinks that there are only 47,000 fans in the UK who would be willing to pay for a live stream then they simply haven’t been paying attention.
Rangers could probably sell ten times that number for each game if fans were given the access to purchase individual ‘virtual tickets’ or if someone at Sky and the SPFL earned their six-figure salary and realised there’s far more interest in the SPFL than just season ticket holders.
What makes it even more galling is that, as a Sky Sports subscriber, they are bending over backwards to ensure I can watch Burnley v Brighton but god forbid I’d rather watch Rangers v Aberdeen.
Clubs are, rightly, making the choice to grant free access to fans who have purchased a physical season ticket and that makes perfect since given fans have already splashed out several hundred pounds for tickets they likely won’t get to use until 2021.
But when the SPFL are championing this as a method for clubs to create additional income, there needs to be a wider roll-out and allow non-ST holders the chance to watch their club – as well as financially contributing.
However, as things stand, it appears that the SPFL and Sky would rather fans tuned in to one of the many ‘dodgy’ streams that are available online with none of the revenue generated going to clubs or Sky.
Perhaps there will be a further announcement from the SPFL and Sky but if there isn’t it feels like a real slap in the face for supporters up and down the country as they are told their cash is worthless, all while clubs are begging for cash in a bid to keep the lights on.