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Celtic turns to Sunset+Vine to produce streamed league matches

UK-based sports production and media company Sunset+Vine has been appointed as the production company for Celtic’s in-house broadcast of Scottish Premiership matches next season.

Celtic will be able to stream live domestic coverage of its behind-closed-doors home league matches during the 2020-21 campaign after a deal was recently struck with pay-television broadcaster Sky.

Sunset+Vine has produced Scottish football and Uefa Europa League coverage on behalf of pay-television broadcaster BT Sport in recent seasons. The company was also brought in to produce Premier Sports’ Scottish Cup coverage when the subscription broadcaster won the rights from 2018-19 to 2023-24.

The team is led by executive producer Grant Philips, who said today (Wednesday): “We are delighted to partner with Celtic Football Club, and we are ready to bring our unrivalled production expertise to the live matchday programming. We are confident that this partnership will provide excellent results for viewers as they wait to return to support the team from the stands at Celtic Park.”

Celtic said that they “will be making a significant investment in this project partnering with Sunset+Vine, one of the best production companies around, to deliver an experience, with top expertise and contributors, which will put our fans at the heart of the action from Celtic Park”.

The live-streaming agreement announced last week will allow fans to watch matches that would not otherwise have been broadcast live on UK television. According to the latest estimates, SPFL clubs are not expecting to be able to welcome full crowds back until at least the start of next year.

Scottish Premiership clubs are to live stream their home matches on their own websites and online TV channels, offering a ‘virtual season ticket’ for the 2020-21 season. Several Scottish Premiership clubs, including Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen, already provide live streaming of their home matches to viewers outside the UK and Ireland on a subscription or pay-per-view basis.

The approval from Sky for the live streaming project was part of a compensation deal struck with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) for the truncated 2019-20 season.

Sky’s exclusive live rights contract kicks in next season and, having fulfilled its final rights payment for the 2019-20 season, the broadcaster has been engaged in talks with the SPFL over money to be returned.

Sky and the SPFL have now reached a settlement thought to entail £1.5m (€1.7m/$1.9m) being paid back to the broadcaster over five years. The seemingly low size of compensation has surprised some industry experts.

Sky’s new five-year contract from 2020-21 to 2024-25 is worth around £26m per season and already includes live rights to 48 matches per season. BT Sport also held live SPFL rights from 2017-18 to 2019-20 but was comfortably defeated by Sky during the rights auction held in late 2018.