A leading Scottish newspaper sportswriter has hit out at the imbalance of sports coverage in the Scottish media.
In a reflective ‘Final Say’ column in The Herald today, Kevin Ferrie points out: “All major media outlets have indulged in the corporate equivalent of suicide watch in the past few weeks as one half of the Old Firm has torn itself apart and that, in itself, is an indication of the importance of Rangers and Celtic to Scottish culture.
“However, in real terms that is where interest in Scottish sport begins and ends for a disturbing number of our citizens and, as understandable as it has been for the two clubs to exploit that to the maximum, it has had a suffocating effect on all other sporting activity.
“Long before Rangers' troubles were of sufficient significance to register with the London-based networks and newspapers, we had only to look at the balance of coverage of sport within the Scottish media.
“Sports bulletins on Scotland Today or Reporting Scotland have invariably started with a Celtic or Rangers story for decades and the same applies to the back pages of, in particular, Scottish tabloid newspapers.
“That is not an indictment of those outlets since their output merely reflects the supposed Scottish obsession with sport which goes no further than people aligning themselves passionately, to the point of fanaticism, with one or other of these clubs.
“What all of this also means, though, is that any individual or, more particularly, business looking to gain benefit from sponsoring sport in Scotland looks first and foremost at ways of investing in the Old Firm.
Ferrie points out that although New Zealand is traditionally associated with the All Blacks rugby team....”anyone who has visited that country, significantly smaller than Scotland in population, will know that sports such as sailing, cricket and netball are granted considerable media coverage and support.”
He also highlights the sporting successes of Ireland, commclaiming that a lack of big corporate entities has enabled the sport within the country to have a broad appeal.
Ferrie also claims that Rangers’ collapse and the impact that looks like having on the rest of the Scottish Premier League is forcing people to think again.
He writes: “This week there was a documentary on BBC Scotland asking what needed to be done to improve Scotland's footballing fortunes, followed by a debate on the subject.
“My own view is that it missed the point, though, because they talked about football in isolation."
Ferry says that Scottish football must improve, which will need cultural change, and adds what while it is debatable whether the Scottish sport needs Rangers, it doesn't revolve around both teams.