SCOTTISH GIANTS Rangers have agreed a deal to broadcast Indian Super League games in the United Kingdom.
The side who have won 54 league titles have a strategic partnership with Bengaluru.
The deal overs six games and follows a deal that sees Indian network Star Sports broadcast SPL matches.
James Bisgrove, the commercial and marketing director of the Glasgow club, was quoted by Sports Pro Media as saying: “This innovative partnership with the ISL represents a further pillar in Rangers international strategy and cements our ambition to develop a meaningful and long-lasting relationship with the growing Indian football fanbase.
“The ISL is a fast paced and competitive league and we are certain Rangers supporters, and many other football fans in the UK, will be compelled to follow the live action on our social media platforms.”
Viewership figures have reached the millions according to Mr Bisgrove.
The Kolkata Derby was the first match streamed as part of the deal.
Mandar Tamhane, Bengaluru chief executive, added: “We are aware of the big presence of the Indian community in the UK and the fact that they will have free access to ISL games is something that will keep them closer to home.
“Through our partnership with Rangers, we are constantly looking to bring a value add, not just to Bengaluru FC, but to Indian football as a whole.”
Indian strikers Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua both had trials with Rangers in 2011 but neither succeeded in signing a contract with the side, who would be forced to relegated to the fourth tier of Scottish football at the end of that year due to financial reasons.
East Bengal left-back Danny Fox is the only Scottish player currently in the ISL.
As for managers, there is Odisha FC’s Stuart Baxter and Jamesdhpur’s Owen Coyle.
Though Mr Coyle played international football for the Republic of Ireland, he was born in and grew up in Scotland.
Mr Coyle’s parents come from Ireland and he explained to the Scotsman: “But the simplest answer to whether I feel more Irish or Scottish is that at the time I was asked to play for Ireland, I was a part-timer with Dumbarton in the Scottish First Division.
“I was asked if I wanted to play for the Irish under-21 side back in 1987. At that time, the Scotland under-21 side was one of the best we’d had for a long, long time. Seven or eight of them were first-team regulars, a lot of them with the Old Firm – lads like Ian Durrant, Derek Ferguson, Derek Whyte, Peter Grant, Joe Miller, Robert Fleck and Ian Ferguson.
“I was 9st 7lbs at the time – before I bulked up to 9st 12lbs later on my career! So it was a very simple choice for me when Ireland asked me to represent them.”