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ESPN, Sky buy Scottish rights for half of old deal

ESPN, Sky buy Scottish rights for half of old deal

ESPN and Sky Sports combined to buy the live rights for Scottish football in Britain and Ireland on Thursday in a cut-price deal that will leave clubs with much less than had been promised by collapsed broadcaster Setanta.
The Scottish Premier League said the broadcast rivals agreed to pay 65 million pounds ($106 million) to show 30 live matches over five seasons.
That equates to 13 million pounds to be shared between the 12 clubs each season, 625,000 pounds less than Setanta would have paid next season.
Setanta had also been contracted to pay 31.25 million pounds for each of the four seasons from 2010-11 before the rights were taken off them after failing to meet a payment last month, leading to the British operation closing.
"With the advent of Sky and ESPN now working together in a joint bid, values of potential income have halved since the Setanta deal was first signed in June 2008," said Martin Bain, chief executive of champion Rangers.
Sky had offered 70 million pounds more than Setanta back in 2008 and Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen had wanted the rights to return to Rupert Murdoch's long-established outfit. But the nine other clubs wanted to stick with Setanta.
"Last year's decision to reject the Sky bid and opt for Setanta ... has proved to be the disastrous misjudgment we indicated it might be, with Setanta now in administration," Celtic chairman John Reid said. "No one should underestimate the blow that has been inflicted on this club and Scottish football by the way in which the whole affair has been handled and by the losses incurred."
The SPL portrayed Thursday's deal as a successful outcome.
"We are pleased that in just over three weeks we have been able to strike this deal," SPL chairman Lex Gold said. "Lessons have been, and are being learned, but our clubs today agreed that there was little value in reheating past disagreements."
Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis added: "It gives the Scottish Premier League clubs stability and continued investment from committed partners."
But in a day of confusion, some clubs were led to believe only a three-season deal had been agreed while others in the league believed it was a five-season contract with a break clause after three.
The SPL's original media release said the deal was worth 65 million pounds over three seasons with a two-year extension option. That figure though relates to the income generated over five seasons.
With Setanta out of the equation, there was less competition for the rights.
"In the middle of a recession (we are) locked in for years to an income some 60 percent lower than last year's bid," Celtic's Reid said. "This is the direct consequence of last year's misjudgment, one that has cost us all some 70 million pounds in a sport that desperately needs the income and where our supporters are already paying their own hard-earned cash."
Reid said that Celtic will suffer a potential loss of up to 12 million pounds over the next four years _ the equivalent of around 6,500 season tickets each year.


Updated : 2021-10-21 03:17 GMT+08:00