The Steven Gerrard effect was once more on full show as Old Firm viewing figures increased last Sunday.
An incredible 552,000 people tuned into Sky Sports to watch Gerrard lock horns with Brendan Rodgers. It shows in full just how much of an exposure effect Gerrard is having on Rangers.
The programme was viewed on two separate Sky Sports channels. 284,000 people tuned into Sky Sport Main Event, whilst 268,000 viewers viewed the contest on Sky Sports Football.
In recent years, the biggest rivalry in Scotland has suffered from a viewership slump. It’s thought this has been due to Celtic’s recent dominance of the fixture.
For the Scottish Cup semi-final last April, only 400,000 watched the contest. The highest viewing total last season was 541,000. This occurred when Rangers faced Celtic at March in a Premiership clash at Ibrox.
The viewing figures not only shows the impact Gerrard has had on the game in Scotland. But it also shows the importance of catching Celtic once more.
As clubs consistently try and raise the profile of Scottish football, better performances from Rangers in this fixture will help do that.
To put into perspective how impressive the latest figures are, you only need to look at two years ago. When Rangers travelled to Parkhead for the first time in four years under Mark Warburton, only 321,000 tuned in.
The game was hyped up massively beforehand, and even though it didn’t turn out well for the Gers, it was being billed as an evenly-contested contest. This, in turn, was expected to bring decent figures to the TV screens.
But just by having Gerrard in the country, the profile of the Old Firm derby has already significantly raised. Just last week, Rangers’ viewing figures on social media over the month of August was the 16th highest in Europe.
With the latest figures coming out on the Old Firm contest, nobody can now deny that Gerrard is a massive pull up in Scotland, and that his decision to come to Ibrox will benefit everyone in Scottish football.