Sky Sports, the heavyweight pay-TV sports broadcaster in the UK, has extended its deal to cover top-tier Scottish soccer until 2029.
The deal between Sky and the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) body, announced today (September 27), we see more SPFL games being covered domestically than ever before, as well as the addition for the first time of games from the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL).
It has been reported that the deal has been struck following approval from a majority of the 12 top-tier Scottish Premiership sides, with Scottish media reporting that 11 of those teams have given their blessing for Sky's relationship with the SPFL to continue.
Glasgow giants Rangers were known to have previously held misgivings about the deal during its planning stages.
The deal represents a four-year extension to the current agreement between Sky and the SPFL, which was struck in November 2018, commenced in 2020-21, and runs through until the conclusion of 2024-25.
The SWPL element of the deal kicks in from this campaign, with Sky becoming an official domestic broadcaster partner of that top-tier league, as well as the title sponsor of the SWPL League Cup, for the next seven campaigns.
It has been reported that the SWPL-Sky deal is worth nearly £4 million ($4.3 million) over seven years, and that the whole tie up is worth £30 million per season.
The first reports of an extension until 2029 between the SPFL and Sky emerged in mid-August.
In terms of the key elements of the extension, Sky will cover up to 60 live SPFL games from 2024-25 onwards, and the SPFL has said there “is scope to increase this over the term of the deal.”
Each of the 12 Scottish Premiership sides will have five home games each campaign broadcast from 2024-25, while all Premiership clubs will be able to sell pay-per-view streams within the UK and Ireland of up to five home league fixtures per season.
During 2020-21, at a point when crowds were almost entirely banned from Scottish Premiership games because of Covid-19 restrictions, all 12 clubs were given the green light to sell the entirety of their matches to fans through pay-per-view streaming platforms.
Sky Sports will also put free-to-watch highlights of all Premiership games on its digital platforms and on its YouTube channel, and in addition, the weekly highlights show of Premiership action on the Sky Sports Football channel will continue.
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said: “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.”
Stephen van Rooyen, executive vice president and chief executive of Sky in the UK and Europe, added: “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. For the first time, they will also have access to Scottish Women’s Premier League matches as well …”
The managing director for the SWPL, Fiona McIntyre, commented: "This is a historic moment for the SWPL and an enormous step forward for the women’s game in Scotland. This deal brings significant financial investment to the new leagues and enhances the visibility of the SWPL at this crucial time for the game.
“I’m delighted that Sky Sports recognize the value and potential of the SWPL …”
Across the UK, Sky Sports also covers action from English soccer's top-tier Premier League, as well as from the English Football League (EFL) lower-league pyramid and from that country's various domestic cup competitions.
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