SPL extends broadcasting deal

 

The Scottish Premier League have extended their broadcasting deal with Sky and ESPN until 2017.

Both broadcasters announced they had agreed a new five-year deal offering more money than their existing contract.

The SPL secured a £13million annual commitment from the broadcasters when they signed the initial contract in 2009, with the new deal taking effect from the start of next season.

Both television companies, who stepped in when Setanta went out of business in the middle of their more lucrative rights deal, will each continue to show 30 live games a season.

The SPL had employed consultants IMG Media to instigate a feasibility study into the launch of their own television channel but they have been encouraged by recent viewing figures.

The news comes less than two weeks after Clydesdale Bank announced they would end their sponsorship of the competition at the end of next season.

In a statement, SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "Sky Sports and ESPN are two of the biggest names in sports broadcasting and the SPL has enjoyed an excellent relationship with both broadcasters over the course of the current contract, a period which has seen a 28% increase in viewing figures.

"In the current economic climate, announcing an increase in value is excellent news for our clubs."

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, added: "We're delighted to agree this deal with the SPL and continue our partnership with Scottish football that began 20 years ago.

"This long-term agreement means Sky Sports viewers can continue to enjoy coverage of 30 live matches a season, including each Old Firm head-to-head, across TV, mobile, online and tablet devices."

Ross Hair, managing director of ESPN in Europe, added: "The Clydesdale Bank Premier League has been an important part of our schedule in these first two-and-a-half seasons of our local ESPN channel in the UK and Ireland.

"Scottish football has performed well on ESPN as we work to build our brand locally and develop our long-term business."

Doncaster admitted the stability offered by the new deal was a much-needed boost.

He told Sky Sports News: "We know the economic environment and we know how much supporters are suffering.

"This gives clubs more stability and certainty. It's a real boost when it's most needed.

"There is certainly an increase in the money paid by Sky and ESPN."

PA

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