Scottish soccer’s top-tier SPFL league organizer has announced it saw record TV viewership for the April 7 Old Firm derby fixture between title rivals Rangers and Celtic.

The game, the third of four scheduled Scottish Premiership meetings between the two Glasgow sides this season, drew a peak of 1.44 million viewers for its broadcast on UK pay-TV heavyweight Sky, having kicked off on the broadcaster’s primary 'Main Event' channel at a midday UK time. The nature of the game at Rangers' Ibrox stadium, which finished 3-3 after three goals in the closing stages, will have doubtless contributed to this impressive peak figure.

The viewing figure surpassed the previous SPFL record set during the December 2019 edition of the same high-profile fixture, in which Rangers ran out 2-1 winners.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, stated of the viewership figure: “These figures demonstrate both the huge interest in this renowned fixture, as well as the increased appeal of our game across Scotland, the UK, and beyond.”

The SPFL, founded in 2013, has been broadcast on Sky for the entirety of its existence, and in September 2022 extended its exclusive live broadcast partnership with Sky through the end of the 2028-29 season.

This renewed deal, which takes effect at the beginning of 2024-25, will see the number of SPFL games broadcast each season by Sky increase from 48 (under the current agreement) to 60, with the SPFL stating at the time that there is “scope to increase this over the term of the deal.”

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Naturally, the value of the deal is predicated on the continuing success and popularity of the two Old Firm clubs, Rangers and Celtic, which are the two most successful, popular, and commercially viable clubs in Scottish soccer by a wide margin.

Strong Old Firm viewership for the latest edition, buoyed by the fraught title race between the two sides, bodes well for the SPFL, which posted record turnover in the fiscal year 2022-23.

In October the league revealed it had a turnover of £41.9 million ($50.9 million), an increase of 6% over the previous season’s tally and a record in the SPFL’s ten-year history.

The Sky broadcast deal was partly credited for the figure, alongside the rising value of the SPFL's sponsorship and partnership portfolio.