Sky ESPN take SPL rights

BSkyB and ESPN have struck a £65m (E75m) deal with the Scottish Premier League to air 60 live Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches each season across the UK and Ireland. The deal will last until the end of season 2011/12 with the SPL having an option to extend for a further two seasons.

Lex Gold, chairman of the SPL, said: “We are pleased that in just over three weeks we have been able to strike this deal. Sky and ESPN are two of the biggest names in sports broadcasting and they will bring first class production standards and a wide audience to the table. We are looking forward to working with both in the coming years to raise the profile of the SPL for our clubs, fans and partners.”

It had been thought that the SPL might not accept the Sky and ESPN bid. Previous SPL UK rights holder Setanta had a £125m, four-year package.

Rangers FC said this week that that it was looking to buy the rights – a move which could precede the launch of a new TV channel backed by the clubs – because the terms on offer from Sky and ESPN were too low. The club said: “Rangers and Celtic have had discussions with regard to buying out the SPL television rights. Both clubs felt obliged to do this given the offer from Sky and ESPN is so low.”

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