BT Sport considering record bid for exclusive rights to Scottish football
The return of regular Old Firm fixtures has whetted broadcasters' appetites for SPFL games
The broadcaster is keen to secure the exclusive rights to Rangers and Celtic games in addition to 60 live Premiership fixtures a season and is understood to be willing to table a record breaking bid in the process.
Currently BT Sport and Sky pay a combined sum of £21m a season to share the rights to 60 SPFL games, with BT Sport holding the exclusive rights for coverage of the league cup until 2020.
The four-year contract for the league games isn’t due to expire until the end of the 2019-20 season, however, according to the Daily Mail, BT has already held a series of formal and informal discussions with league bosses and could table a record bid in an attempt to edge out rival Sky in the negotiating process.
Commenting on the discussions an SPFL source told the Daily Mail: “It will all come down to numbers. There is a value in Scottish football and BT Sport appreciate that. The matter should move forward next year.”
BT recently outbid Sky for the rights to the Uefa Champions League with a three-year deal worth £1.82bn that would include a free highlights package on social media. It is believed that BT Sport will look to adopt a similar approach with the SPFL coverage.
The league’s broadcast revenue has suffered following Rangers departure from the Premiership in 2012 and the collapse of Setanta’s UK operation in 2009. With Rangers back in the top flight though the hugely popular Old Firm games are once again a regular season draw and as a result broadcasters’ appetites have increased.
With more attention on the league and a heightened rivalry with Sky for football rights, BT Sport’s bid could surpass the £31m a season which Setanta paid in 2008.
Sky is expected to hold its own discussions with SPFL chairman in the coming months to discuss future broadcast deal.