Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor has renewed hope supporters will be allowed into Victoria Park before Christmas.
The SPFL yesterday confirmed a new agreement with Sky Sports, which will allow clubs to sell virtual season tickets to supporters next season, paving the way for behind closed doors matches to be played from August.
The news will come as a boost to fans of the Staggies, with MacGregor having opted not to put season tickets on sale due to his fears matches would remain behind closed doors until after Christmas.
MacGregor has been given fresh encouragement that measures to deal with the spread of coronavirus could be put in place to allow small numbers of supporters into grounds sooner.
MacGregor said: “I think there’s a positivity about the fact players are going to see grass again. With supporters, there’s a hope that, providing the health continues to get better, we are getting back to the new normal.
“I always said that if we see fans in grounds by Christmas it would be a good thing, but I’m more optimistic than that now.
“We will now be able to sell a virtual season ticket, which is important.
“At first it will be behind closed doors, but it will then allow us to drip feed in fans as we are allowed to.
“If it was 30% capacity, we would get 2,000 people in which would be great. These are all signs that we are making progress, even though it’s slow.”
MacGregor says County will now begin the process of putting out a television package to their fanbase, adding: “We need to examine how that price may work out and how we pay for the television. It will probably be our own channel.
“There will be some production costs, but at least people will be able to see the games and it will be Sky-quality pictures.
“It’s about giving fans the ability to see our games live, particularly the elderly ones who have been shielding.”
The one-year agreement will prevent clubs from streaming games at the same time as Sky Sports shows any of the 48 live matches it will screen as part of a new five-year £150 million broadcasting deal.
MacGregor has been pleased by Sky’s approach to the talks, adding: “It means we will have a lot of live games at 3pm on a Saturday, which is great.
“We didn’t think we would get to this stage where the broadcaster would allow live games for a year.
“They have appreciated that clubs playing behind closed doors doesn’t keep fans – and if you don’t keep fans you probably don’t keep them for the future. I think they have been quite pragmatic.”