Highland League secretary Rod Houston has been pleased with the feedback to live streaming the semi-finals of the Highland League Cup.
With fans still unable to attend games due to Covid-19 restrictions the league decided to complete the 2019-20 Highland League Cup behind closed doors while showing the fixtures online.
Both semi-finals lived up to expectations in the entertainment stakes as Rothes beat Formartine United 2-1 after extra-time and Buckie Thistle defeated Brora Rangers on penalties after a dramatic 2-2 draw.
This Saturday’s final at Kynoch Park, Keith will also be live streamed online on a pay-per-view basis and Houston hopes the quality of product both on and off the pitch can be of a similarly high standard.
He said: “We were very pleased with the semi-finals. The quality of the two games were just reward for the hard work that both host clubs put in in making such excellent arrangements for the games.
“The fact we were able to live stream them meant anybody who wanted to see the games could see them.
“We’ve had some very interesting emails since the weekend, including one from a gentleman in Sussex who was raving about the quality of Highland League football.
“I think both host clubs and all four teams take great credit for that.
“Hopefully everything can go well again, but first and foremost we want a good game where both teams have given their best.
“My brother logged on to watch on Saturday afternoon and very quickly informed me that the picture quality was very good.
“The commentary on both games was very good, but ultimately if the picture had been scruffy or if there had been other issues with the stream that makes it difficult for the viewers.
“But it seems like the quality was excellent and it’s very reassuring we can deliver that type of quality and Highland Sports Media and Joe Buchanan deserve credit for that.”
The Highland League has not yet reviewed the figures regarding the number of people who viewed the Highland League Cup semi-finals.
Houston says they will assess the viability of streaming in the long-term following the final between Buckie and Rothes.
The 2020-21 season will not kick-off before November 28 at the earliest and if supporters will continue to be denied entry streaming – if it’s deemed viable – could be the solution to allow the new campaign to start.
Houston added: “The viewer response we’ve had has been very encouraging. We then need to take a hard-nosed look at numbers and assess revenue streams.
“What it’s doing is what we wanted it to do which is giving us the information to inform our decision-making process because that was something we lacked.
“But it’s also been important to make the games accessible to the people who can’t attend because circumstances dictate these are closed door games.
“I’m still waiting for the feedback on numbers and locations that people watched from.
“But we’re not in a hurry with that because our big job this week is to make sure Saturday is an occasion which befits the final of the Highland League Cup and that both clubs feel the occasion, albeit without spectators, is a worthy one.
“It’s very different to any other final within Highland League football, but the times are very different to what we’re used to.
“Of course it is frustrating and we’d like fans to be able to attend, but these are the times we are in and everybody knows where we stand on that front.”