UK pay-television broadcaster BSkyB has confirmed a new five-year broadcast deal for the Scottish Premier League (SPL), with the agreement also set to include coverage of Rangers matches.
With Rangers having dropped out of the SPL after being liquidated, serious question marks were raised over the attractiveness of the Scottish top flight to broadcasters. The SPL had agreed five-year deals with Sky and rival pay-tv broadcaster ESPN for the period 2012-13 to 2016-17, worth a total of £80 million. The new agreement with Sky will now replace this deal and while no financial details were released, Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said the new deal will provide SPL clubs with “certainty” over their income.
Sky said it will provide live coverage of 30 SPL matches per season, plus highlights programming. The deal will also include five live Rangers matches from the Scottish Football League, beginning with their opening Scottish Division Three clash away to Peterhead on August 11. Sky said the new deal is subject to the ratification of SPL clubs, with a decision expected on Friday.
Francis said: “We’ve supported Scottish football since we started over 20 years ago, and have always wanted to continue that commitment. Our viewers will see the SPL for five more years and our schedule includes the opening league match for Celtic. We will also follow Rangers as they plot their way back to Scottish football’s top flight. Clubs now have certainty over their income and exposure across the UK and Ireland and we look forward to the new season.”