Sky extends arrangement with SPFL for clubs to continue streaming games
Soccer - 19 Apr 2021
The innovative deal between the Scottish Professional Football League and domestic pay-TV broadcaster Sky Sports, under which all fixtures from the top-tier SPFL Premiership are being shown live to season-ticket holders at the 12 clubs, across a range of platforms, has been extended through the 2021-22 campaign.
As has been the case so far in the 2020-21 campaign, during which fans have not been allowed into the vast majority of SPFL Premiership games because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 12 clubs will be allowed to put home games not covered by Sky on to their own online club platforms in 2021-22, through virtual season tickets.
They have also been authorised to sell any home game not shown by Sky next season directly to fans, on a pay-per-view basis.
These opportunities for clubs to stream games to fans via online season passes were first outlined in June last year, as the SPFL prepared for what it assumed then would be a season without fans.
The virtual season tickets are once again set to provide vital revenue to the Scottish Premiership clubs, which have been missing out on gate receipts.
Neil Doncaster, the SPFL’s chief executive, has said: “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.
“The television viewer numbers for Scottish football this season have been magnificent and this was one of the key reasons behind our agreement with Sky Sports to extend our current arrangements.”
Sky has exclusive live rights in the UK to the Scottish Premiership for five seasons from 2020-21, paying around £30 million ($37.7 million) per year.
In the previous rights cycle, which came to an end at the close of the 2019-20 campaign, it shared rights with rival BT Sport in deals worth close to £20 million per year.
There has been no confirmed date as to when fans will be able to attend SPFL matches again.