As the Betfred Cup reaches the Quarter Final stage with all 4 ties played over 3 nights this week (wc 18-9-17), we reflect on the bold move by all parties that has resulted in the resurgence of this fine competition and sees it emerge from the crowd and stand as one of the best and most unique cup competitions in European Football………
Betfred became the Title Sponsors of the Scottish League Cup from the outset of the 2016/17 season (Lasting for at least the following three campaigns) as it embarked on a thrilling new format.
With the group stage now starting and finishing in July, football fans across Britain can get an early fix of real competitive matches, as the rest of the country put the finishing touches to their pre-season campaigns. Drawn games at this stage end with a penalty shoot-out, with the winning team then receiving a bonus point……………..It really is all to play for from the outset.
Not only is the on-field action tremendously exciting from the first whistle, an enhanced TV package from BT Sport allows fans to watch up to 13 games live, where teams are competing for a much greater prize pot than ever before.
SPFL chief executive Doncaster was tremendously enthusiastic about the new format from the very beginning and was quick to heap praise on those involved in the competition’s revamp.
He said: “It’s pretty rare that announcements from leagues or governing bodies get such positive support as the new look League Cup did.
“I think that’s testament to the boldness of the clubs who have been prepared to go along with some pretty radical change. The group stage, the bonus point for a penalty shootout in a drawn game in the group stages, the mid July start and the creation of the winter break that that then allows for the Premiership teams, this is a reward for that.
“The clubs have been bold enough to embrace some pretty big change to a long established competition and I think the level of interest and commerciality delivered from BT Sport and Betfred is a reward for that, and that will be paid out through TV money and prize money through this competition.
“If you do the right thing you get the result. The clubs have been bold enough to do that and they have got a positive result out of it.”
He said: “Betfred are an established high street blue chip company. They promote a responsible gambling message which must be commended.
“Ultimately we have a duty to the clubs competing in these competitions to get the best high profile name and the best money we can, and that’s why we’ve gone with Betfred in this instance.”
Doncaster added: “It’s a significant improvement on where we have been over the life of the SPFL with this competition. Add to the significant uplift that we have seen coming through from BT Sport, it will result in a substantial uplift for the clubs competing in this competition.”
Aside from the commerciality of the competition, it ends in just as exciting a fashion as it begins. With all 4 Quarter Finals played over 3 nights in September, the Semi-Finals will be played a month later on the 21st & 22nd October, both being played at the home of Scottish Football, Hampden Park.
When the final arrives at the same stadium on November 26th, The Betfred Cup will be the first piece of meaningful silverware handed out anywhere in Britain, meaning that all teams can then focus on the remainder of the campaign with one less competition to think about.
The innovation and forward thinking shown by all parties’ means that teams put out strong line-ups in every round, fans get value for money and Scottish Football gets a Cup to be proud of.