The Scottish Premier League is hoping to extend its broadcast rights deals in Scotland with UK pay-television broadcaster BSkyB as a way out of the crisis caused by the liquidation of leading SPL club Glasgow Rangers, according to the Daily Record.
The league wants any new deals to cover an eight-year period, from 2012-13 to 2019-20. They would replace five-year deals already agreed with BSkyB and pay-television operator ESPN for the period 2012-13 to 2016-17, worth a total of £80 million (€103 million/$126 million) over the five years. The new deals would be worth less per year than the five-year deals they would replace. The report does not say whether ESPN would be involved in the new deals.
The existing deals are thought to be conditional on both Rangers and Celtic participating in the top division. Following its liquidation, former SPL club Rangers will begin life as a new company in the Third Division – the fourth tier of football in Scotland – next season.
SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster and Peter Lawwell, the chief executive of Celtic, which alongside Rangers is one of the two biggest clubs in Scottish football, are said to be leading the talks.
The newspaper said that the SPL had tabled a bid for rights to Scottish Football League matches – covering the three tiers below the top division – in order to include Rangers games in any new deal for the SPL rights, and added that the broadcasters would be unwilling to commit to a new agreement unless Rangers games in the SFL are included in the SPL broadcast package.
Bids for the broadcast rights covering SFL games this coming season were due in yesterday, Monday July 23. The IMG Media agency is handling the sales process.