Sky will curtail rights deal if Rangers are gone for more than one year, report says

Pay-television broadcaster BSkyB would only consider keeping its rights deal for the Scottish Premier League if the possible absence of Rangers football club from the top-tier competition does not extend beyond one season.

Rangers, which alongside Glasgow rival Celtic is one of the two biggest clubs in Scotland, faces liquidation and, as a result, possible demotion. Sky is reported to have a termination clause with the league in its five-year rights deal, from 2012-13 to 2016-17, if either Rangers or Celtic do not participate in the top-tier competition.

“They (Sky) would be prepared to wear it for a year but any longer would not be viable,” a Sky source told the Daily Record newspaper. “Three years without Rangers, while Rangers climbed from the Third Division…would blow the whole deal out of the water,” he said.

The source said it would not be commercially viable if Ranger’s exclusion from the Premier League was for longer than 12 months. “Four Old Firm [Rangers v Celtic] games per season is what Sky export around Britain and around the world – that’s what they pay for. No Rangers equals no Sky, unless ‘Gers are back very soon.”

The source added: “Sky have a duty to get a return on the investment they have made. Advertising revenues, particularly from Old Firm matches, would be severely affected. Old Firm matches have the potential of bringing in more than a million viewers. Taking such matches out of the equation is very damaging.”

UK tax authority Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs rejected the terms of a Company Voluntary Agreement debt repayment scheme today. With the CVA rejected, Rangers must reform as a company and the club could be relegated to a lower division if its fellow Scottish Premier League clubs vote in favour of such a motion as a punishment.

The league is expected to announce a date for a debate and vote on the matter in the coming days, but the newspaper speculated that a possible compromise, that would protect the rights deal but also punish Rangers, would be for Rangers to be relegated to the First Division – the second tier of Scottish football – for one season.