SPL’s TV picture remains unclear
17 Jul 2012
Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster on Monday offered no reassurances over the status of the League’s television deal for next season after its member clubs agreed to back Rangers’ move into the Scottish Third Division.
It was announced on Friday that Rangers will begin life in its ‘newco’ incarnation in the Third Division after the Scottish Football League’s (SFL) member clubs voted against allowing it to enter the First Division. The fallen Glasgow giant was forced to apply for membership of the SFL after its application to re-enter the SPL was rejected earlier this month. The SPL’s annual general meeting on Monday saw an invitation extended to Dundee for it to take Rangers’ place in the top flight, but no moves were made to discuss the League’s initial rejection of the Glasgow club or the possibility of forming an ‘SPL2’.
Press Association Sport reported that SFL clubs were warned that the SPL could lose £15.7 million – all but £1 million from television rights – were Rangers to rebuild in the Third Division. However, when asked specifically if there could be no TV deal, Doncaster said: “I’m not going to be speculating on what might be the case. I think it’s important that we focus on what the reality is and we’ll be working to discover what the commercial damage is.”
The SPL in November announced a new five-year broadcast deal with Sky Sports and ESPN worth a reported £80 million running from the 2012-13 season through to the end of 2016-17. However, it is understood that the majority of the League’s commercial deals have an exit or re-negotiation clause should one of the Old Firm giants of Celtic or Rangers be absent. Doncaster said: “In terms of financial consequences, we’ll work through that over the coming days and weeks with our partners and as soon as we’re in a position to make an announcement about the reality then we will do so. I’m not going to be commenting specifically on any discussions with any of our partners. It’s important that we work intensively over the next few days and weeks to bring clarity for the benefit of our clubs and we’ll do that as soon as we can.”