Highland League secretary Rod Houston has revealed they have received positive feedback after live streaming the Highland League Cup semi-finals.
With fans still unable to attend games due to coronavirus restrictions, the decision was taken to complete the 2019-20 Highland League Cup behind closed doors while showing the fixtures online.
In two entertaining last-four clashes, Rothes beat Formartine United 2-1 and Buckie Thistle prevailed on penalties against Brora Rangers after an entertaining 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.
“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 will review the number of people who watched the semi-finals and finals in due course.
The start of the 2020-21 season has been delayed until at least November 28 in the hope fans would be able to attend, however, streaming may provide a viable alternative if that can’t happen.
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.”