Question marks remain over SPL’s TV deal

The refusal of Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster to comment on the impact on the league’s new domestic television rights deal of Glasgow Rangers’ looming demotion to the Scottish third division has left a question mark over the status of the television deal.

“I’m not going to be speculating on what might be the case. I think it’s important that we focus on what the reality is and we’ll be working to discover what the commercial damage is,” Doncaster said yesterday.

The SPL last November announced a five-year deal, from 2012-13 to 2016-17, with UK pay-television broadcasters BSkyB and ESPN worth a reported £80 million (€103 million/$125 million) in total. The deal is thought to have an exit or re-negotiation clause should one of the league’s big two clubs, Celtic and Rangers, drop out of the division.

The Press Association Sport news agency reported that Scottish Football League clubs – from the three divisions below the SPL – were told that the top division could lose £14.7 million in television rights revenue due to Rangers’ demotion to the fourth-tier.

Doncaster said: “In terms of financial consequences, we’ll work through that over the coming days and weeks with our partners and as soon as we’re in a position to make an announcement about the reality then we will do so. I’m not going to be commenting specifically on any discussions with any of our partners. It’s important that we work intensively over the next few days and weeks to bring clarity for the benefit of our clubs and we’ll do that as soon as we can.”

It was announced last Friday that following liquidation Rangers will begin life as a new company in the Third Division, after the Scottish Football League’s member clubs voted against allowing it to enter the First Division, the tier below the SPL.