The new SPFL broadcasting deal with Sky Sports has been substantially devalued with additional matches added to the package for the first year as a sweetener to the broadcaster after the curtailment of the 2019/20 season, it can be revealed. It was announced this week that the new five-year partnership would see Sky show up to 48 games a season.
But Express Sport understands the agreement with the SPFL will actually enable Sky Sports to show 61 games for the first year of the contract.
That works out at one extra match for each club, plus another extra one for Celtic for the unfurling of the flag game on their first home match of the season.
On the financial terms of the deal that would see each game’s value drop from £520,833 to £404,918, which will see Scottish clubs missing out on just over £7m.
And despite the SPFL insisting the deal is as publicly advertised, Express Sport has seen proof that the recommendation to clubs sent on May 29 included new proposals allowing Sky to broadcast five live matches from their home stadium, and six in the case of Celtic, an addition from the previously agreed four matches for each club.
This comes despite chief executive Neil Doncaster insisting the deal was an ‘excellent outcome’ and that it was ‘vital’ the 12 SPFL clubs approved the deal.
The need to renegotiate with Sky was due to the curtailment of the 2019/20 season, and the broadcaster being due around £5m in compensation for the games they didn’t show.
That debt was renegotiated to £1.5m and will be spread over the five years of the deal at £300,000 a year, meaning Sky will now pay the SPFL clubs £24.7m each season.
But despite Sky offering to cut the debt by 70% on last season they have in fact got a far better deal for the next five years.
The BT Sport liability also remains a mystery that leaves the SPFL clubs in limbo as they begin preparations for the new season.
Along with the announcement of the new TV deal Doncaster said: “This is an innovative and pragmatic solution to the challenges posed by Covid-19 and I’m grateful for the flexibility shown by our clubs and by Sky Sports.
“This agreement means that any liability for games not delivered during Season 2019/20 has now been settled, on terms that reflect Sky’s status as a committed partner and supporter of Scottish football.”
The new deal will allow Scottish clubs to stream home games to season ticket holders which will help them generate revenue while games are played behind closed doors.