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Premier League Expansion: Why Bringing Scottish Teams South Is Good for Soccer

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 18:  Daniel Grainger (#3) and David Templeton (#12) of Hearts battle for the ball with Kyle Walker of Tottenham during the UEFA Europa League Playoff first leg match between Heart of Midlothian FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Tynecastle Stadium on August 18, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Ryan DayCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2017

According to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the English Premier League (EPL) is the best domestic soccer league in all of Europe. Combined club revenues for the EPL totaled more than over £2 billion (or $3 billion) and an average attendance for a match in 2009-2010 was over 34,000.

But ever since the EPL debuted in 1992, competing soccer leagues around the United Kingdom have played second fiddle.

The Scottish Premier League, which boasted an average attendance of just over 13,000 a match, was the only thing that could even come close to competing with the EPL's popularity. But, the attendance is not high enough and revenue is not strong enough for the league to sustain more than 12 teams.

England is holding a monopoly on all the good soccer and it is about more than simply money. By adding Scottish teams, Brits knows that the dominance of English clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea will start to wane in favor of Scottish clubs such as Celtic and Rangers. Bringing Scotland into the EPL will upset traditionalists who see the league as a purely English affair.

That is a sad thing too, because with a little more revenue, Scottish teams could compete with anyone in the EPL.

The sadder aspect is it could work and the fans, traditional or not, would love it.

Think of the combined popularity of Scottish and English clubs in the same league. Ticket sales would be through the roof. The TV rights would be worth significantly more. The revenue pie would be huge and even a smaller piece would mean more money.

There are potential rivalries it could create. Think of Arsenal going north to play Celtic. Or Dundee United crossing the border to face Chelsea. The Braveheart metaphors nearly write themselves.

It might not be until the popularity of the English Premier League wanes a little before we see league officials inviting clubs from other UK countries. But it remains a possibility. Will it ever get done? Will we ever see Manchester United battling with Rangers on the last week of the season for the Premier League trophy? 

It is something that Scottish managers have voiced support for in the last few years. And why not? Bringing Scottish teams south would only increase the excitement of the English Premier League.

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