Sky would renegotiate, but not terminate SPL deal upon Rangers demotion

UK pay-television broadcaster BSkyB would aim to renegotiate rather than scrap a rights deal for the Scottish Premier League if the Glasgow Rangers football club is demoted from the top division due to its liquidation and reformation as a new company.

The Daily Mail said that Sky’s five-year rights deal, from 2012-13 to 2016-17, has not been signed, but the newspaper quoted a Sky source dismissing reports that the broadcaster would tear up the deal if Rangers’ absence from the competition extended beyond one season.

“Sky has never, ever discussed pulling out of covering Scottish football,” the source said. “We have not discussed that possibility, either with the SPL or any other footballing authority. Nor has that been on the agenda for consideration within Sky, despite all the problems and difficulties being faced by Scottish football at present.

“If Rangers are not in the SPL, that would change things for us, naturally. It would leave a quality hole in Scotland’s top division. Competition would deteriorate and, in that event, we would have to renegotiate. But let us be very clear – we have always tried to be supportive of Scottish football and have never made any negative noises or sent any negative messages. Scottish football is still very much in our plans for the future. Walking away has never been on our agenda.”

The source also dismissed suggestions that Sky would try to influence the outcome of a vote by SPL clubs next month on whether Rangers should be demoted.

“We have, in the past, been asked for our opinions, but we believe that football should be run by the football authorities. We are a TV company,” the source added.

Rangers, along with Glasgow rival Celtic, is one of the two biggest clubs in Scotland, and audience figures for Sky’s coverage would drop without the four annual ‘Old Firm’ games between the clubs.