Scotland fans now want all games shown free-to-air after Sky Sports viewing figures success

The Scotland fans behind a successful campaign for Scotland’s play-off final win over Serbia to be shown on free-to-air channels want other games to be given the same treatment after Sky Sports announced huge viewing figures yesterday.

Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall celebrates with teammates following last week's play-off final victory over Serbia  (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall celebrates with teammates following last week's play-off final victory over Serbia (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Sky Sports made last Thursday’s night game free to view in recognition of its significance and the fact fans were restricted to watching at home due to Covid-19. As many as 2.6 million watched the nail-biting penalty shoot-out victory as Scotland qualified for a major finals for the first time since 1998.

An average audience of 1.48m viewers watched the programme from start to finish, making it the most watched Euro 2020 qualification match on Sky Sports. It was the most watched programme in Scotland in that time slot with a 63 per cent audience share.

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Now the Hampden Collective, the group who organised the campaign to show the play-off final on free-to-air channels, are determined to use such viewing figures to demand that all Scotland matches are now made free to view. Sunday’s Nations League clash between Scotland and Slovakia saw normal service resumed with the game shown only on Sky Sports Football, a subscription-only channel. Tonight’s fixture in Netanya against Israel is also only on the same channel.

This has only strengthened the resolve of the Hampden Collective. “Last month, we launched our #Oorladsoortelly campaign, which seeks to convince broadcasters to show the Scotland national football team on free-to-air TV,” said spokesman Barry Kirk. “Success quickly followed and a national poll in The Scotsman newspaper showing 92 per cent of fans wanted this and we convinced Sky Sports to show it live.

"However, on Sunday Scotland played again and suddenly reality set in: why is it not on television? Fans from the age of five to 95 were left disappointed, and suddenly the mood had changed too.

“There were many who thought we were wasting our time when we started our campaign, we’ve proven them wrong and have shown why it is so important. Scotland play Israel on Wednesday night in another massive game. We want it to be on free to air. We want to watch out heroes once again and, more importantly, safe in the knowledge everyone has access to it.”

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