Sky Sports provides ‘certainty’ to fans with SPFL streaming tie-up

Sky Sports has finalised a new deal with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) that will allow clubs to broadcast all 228 matches to season-ticket holders, as part of a major tie-up.

Under the terms of the contract, all SPFL teams will be able to offer online club channel ‘season passes’ of home matches to season-ticket holders, whilst the deal also encompasses live rights to 48 matches per season.

Furthermore, all games not aired by pay-television broadcaster Sky will be available on a pay-per-view basis.

SPFL Chief Executive, Neil Doncaster, explained: “For the past few months, there have been intense, detailed discussions between ourselves, Sky Sports and our clubs to give fans certainty that they will be able to watch their heroes playing live next season, irrespective of when supporters are allowed back into stadia. Today’s announcement is a major boost for everyone involved in the game.

 “Obviously, we are all desperate to get supporters back into grounds on a safe and sustainable basis and are making good progress in our discussions with the Scottish Government, especially given the pace of the vaccine roll-out.”

The tie-up represents an extension of the system put in place at the beginning of the current campaign which allowed Scottish Premiership clubs to create and sell a ‘virtual season ticket’ and provide an alternative source of match income, acting as a compensation deal for the 2019/20 season which was cut short in May. 

“In a normal season, almost five million fans attend SPFL games, the highest per capita attendance in Europe, and the current broadcast deals have been an absolute lifeline for clubs and supporters alike as they battle the enormous financial pressures caused by COVID-19,” Doncaster added.

Sky’s new five-year agreement with the league, which came into effect at the beginning of this season, running from 2020/21 to 2024/15, is said to be valued at around £26 million per season.

The broadcaster saw off competition from rival BT Sport in the 2018 rights auction, with BT also serving as the broadcaster of the SPFL from the 2017/18 season to 2019/20.

The SPFL said on the continuation of the agreement: “With discussions still ongoing between football authorities and the Scottish Government to allow supporters to attend matches in person, the new deal for the 2021/22 season gives certainty to fans and clubs alike on the ability to watch games live on TV.”

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