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SPFL announce TV rights extention

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), have agreed an extension to their domestic rights deal with Sky Sports after securing the necessary backing from clubs.

The breakthrough came this ahead of a meeting between Premiership clubs and allows Sky to retain the rights to the Scottish Premiership for four more seasons. Live rights to the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) are also included for the first time.

The SPFL recently held negotiations with Sky about renewing its domestic rights. No invitation to tender was issued.

The new contract will be worth £30m per season across five seasons (from 2024-25 to 2028-29) with Sky initially having rights to 60 matches per season from the 2024-25 campaign, the last season of the existing agreement.

Sky’s current five-year contract from 2020-21 to 2024-25 is worth around £25m per season and includes live rights to 48 matches per season, although the broadcaster has fallen well short of using its maximum quota in recent seasons, much to the chagrin of supporters.

Under the new deal, Sky will also have first refusal on two additional bundles of 10 fixtures per season at a cost of £4m apiece from 2024-25. This could eventually mean 80 matches per season are shown, bringing the contract’s value up to an annual £38m.

The SPFL could look to sell on the additional live rights to other broadcasters should Sky not want to take them up.

The Premiership’s 12 member clubs were initially asked to agree on a waiver letter permitting Sky to raise the number of home games shown from each stadium by one per season. Under the new deal, the number of matches that can be broadcast from each top-flight ground will rise from four to five (from the 2024-25 season).

Unlike leagues in Continental Europe, the SPFL and its clubs have historically invoked strict restrictions on the number of home matches that can be broadcast on domestic television in order to protect the strong season ticket revenue across the majority of teams. However, the SPFL has come under increasing public pressure to dramatically increase the number of matches shown in its home market or to add additional direct-to-consumer streaming options for fans.

Meanwhile, all Premiership sides will now be able to sell pay-per-view streams within the UK and Ireland to a maximum of five home league matches each season. This takes effect immediately. These matches would not be able to fall in the UK’s Saturday afternoon blackout window (between 2.45pm and 5.15pm).

Sky has also secured free-to-watch highlights of every Scottish Premiership match.

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s executive vice-president and chief executive, UK and Europe, said: “Every time we extend our partnership with the Scottish Professional Football League, more football fans are watching. With this latest extension of our long running partnership, Sky Sports customers will continue to be treated to the biggest games and even more live matches.”

Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, added: “This is a very significant financial and promotional deal for the SPFL and I’m delighted our clubs have overwhelmingly supported deepening their relationship with the UK’s leading sports broadcaster. Today’s announcement represents a major financial boost for our 42 member clubs at a time when the UK economy is facing significant headwinds, and will increase the exposure of Europe’s most exciting and passionate league.

“We have much work to do to achieve our target of paying fees to member clubs of £50 million per season – but this is an important and significant first step towards that target.”

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