The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has clinched a new 10-year, £20m international broadcast deal with a Chinese partner, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today.
The First Minister was joined in Beijing by SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and clubs' representative Peter Lawwell of Celtic, where the SPFL struck the new broadcast agreement with online streaming provider PPLive TV.
The ground-breaking deal covers the live screening of 58 SPFL matches in China, the world's second biggest economy and fastest growing, as part of PPLive TV's European football offering that includes coverage of England's Barclays Premier League and Spain's Liga.
The agreement, which will see SPFL season 2013/14 fixtures broadcast online to 60 million PPLive TV users in China, is part of an international agreement between the SPFL and MP & Silva that is expected to generate more than £20 million for the SPFL and its member clubs over the next 10 years.
The First Minister made the announcement alongside Mr Doncaster and Mr Lawwell at a Scotland innovation showcase in Beijing that demonstrated the expertise and pedigree of Scottish business, design, education and sport during his five-day trade mission to China.
Mr Salmond said: "This is a hugely exciting development for Scottish football. There is clearly a growing appetite for European football coverage in China and now football fans across this country will be able to enjoy the action from iconic Scottish footballing venues such as Easter Road, Fir Park and Pittodrie.
"There have been some tough times in Scottish football over recent years, but with news today that clubs can look forward to a £20m boost as part of this fantastic international broadcasting deal, I am confident the fans can look forward to a bright future."
Neil Doncaster said: "This is a brilliant result for Scottish football and the Scottish Professional Football League. This deal will showcase the Scottish game to up to 60m people across China and opens up a huge marketplace in the world's fastest growing economy.
"We want to build on this opportunity, not only in China but across other significant global markets, and discussions with several potential partners are ongoing. We aim to significantly raise the profile and popularity of our game among global audiences, with the resultant financial spin-offs and commercial opportunities for the SPFL and our member clubs."
Peter Lawwell, chief executive of Celtic FC, said: "The English Premier League experience shows that giving overseas audiences the chance to watch games week-in, week-out is the key to building an international fan base.
"Celtic FC has already played a leading role in promoting the Scottish game to global audiences, mainly through our recent participation and successes in the Champions League, and we see China as a country with enormous potential. This deal shows the ambition of the SPFL and its clubs to continue to expand the Scottish game into new worldwide territories."