Sky strikes deal for SPL and Rangers games

UK pay-television broadcaster BSkyB has agreed a new five-year deal, from 2012-13 to 2016-17, for rights covering the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and selected Glasgow Rangers games in the Scottish Football League Third Division.

Sky will provide live coverage of 30 matches per season, including 25 games from the SPL and five live Rangers matches per year from the Third Division, starting with the team’s game away at Peterhead on August 11.

Sky, which will also offer SPL highlights under the deal, said that the agreement is subject to the ratification of SPL clubs, with a decision expected on Friday.

The deal will replace a five-year deal, from 2012-13 to 2016-17, that the SPL had agreed with Sky and pay-television broadcaster ESPN before Rangers, one of the two biggest clubs in Scotland, was liquidated and reformed as a new company, and demoted from the top division to the fourth tier as a result.

The previous deal was worth £80 million (€103 million/$126 million) over five years, but the Daily Record newspaper said that the new agreement is worth £63 million to the SPL, which included Rangers games in the package after acquiring rights from the Scottish Football League for about £1.2 million per year.

“We’ve supported Scottish football since we started over 20 years ago, and have always wanted to continue that commitment,” Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said. “Clubs now have certainty over their income and exposure across the UK and Ireland and we look forward to the new season.”

The possible involvement of ESPN, which had been due to share coverage of the SPL with Sky before Rangers’ demotion, has not been confirmed.