Scottish Rugby has secured a new three year television deal for coverage of the Celtic League with leading international sports broadcaster Setanta.
The deal, which represents a significantly increased rights fee compared to the previous arrangement with SMG, was welcomed today by Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Phil Anderton.
He said: ‘I am delighted that we have reached an agreement with Setanta which not only secures TV coverage of our professional teams in the Celtic League but it also enables us to reinvest in Scottish Rugby and makes the Celtic League a more attractive proposition for sponsors.
‘We are part of the Celtic League Association and revenues that the association generates are split equally among the three Celtic unions. Wales and Ireland have both put significant rights fees into the central pot through broadcast deals with BBC Wales, S4C and Setanta and Scottish Rugby is pleased to be an active contributor and partner in that regard.’
There has been some media comment about the scheduling of matches as part of the broadcast deal. Anderton noted: ‘What we are trying to do is maximise the coverage, delivering what Setanta is looking for in terms of a spread of Celtic League action throughout the weekend, while remaining very mindful of the importance of our domestic club leagues.
‘We are looking to find opportunities for clubs to play double-headers and I applaud the initiative announced by The Borders whereby their game against Glasgow Rugby on September 11 will be the second-part of a double-header at the Greenyards following the Melrose v Gala BT Premier Division 1 contest.
‘In the first 14 games in the Celtic League there will be only three fixtures which are scheduled for Saturday afternoons and I hope we can see other clubs follow the example I have mentioned.’
Richard Sweeney, chief operating officer of Setanta Sports, said: ‘With the first few games of Setanta Sports’ live and exclusive coverage of the Bank of Scotland Premier League football season under our belts, we have demonstrated our commitment to delivering subscription based Scottish sport to viewers which is underpinned by outstanding production and unrivalled coverage.
‘One of our aims is to extend the Setanta Sports channel beyond football and I am delighted that this deal, which sees a substantial investment in the sport in Scotland, allows us to do that. It offers existing subscribers added value, while also attracting rugby fans to the channel.’
Keith Grainger, tournament director of the Celtic League and Cup, said: ‘This is great news for both Scottish Rugby and the Celtic League and means that supporters of the Scottish Celtic League sides who are unable to get to the games will be able to enjoy their sides in action in some of their away games as well as the Scottish based matches.
‘It will also strengthen the appeal of the Celtic League to potential commercial partners.’
Phil Anderton added: ‘Further announcements about TV coverage of the international, professional and club game, will be made shortly.’
For further information please contact
Graham Law, Scottish Rugby, 0131 346 5164
Lesley Alexander, Citigate SMARTS on behalf of Setanta Sports, 0141 229 7632