STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

'A landmark moment':  Doncaster hails Sky deal as step forward

The SPFL chief refutes claims from Rangers that the game is being undersold.

Neil Doncaster hails SPFL deal with Sky and refutes Rangers claims game is being undersold SNS Group

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster insists a new broadcast deal for Scottish football is a significant step forward, and has dismissed claims from Rangers and others that the game is being undersold.

The league announced a new £150m deal with broadcast partner Sky that will see more Scottish football on the channel in years to come.

The seven-year deal gives Sky rights to show up to 60 Premiership games a year exclusively from season 2024/25, and will include a minimum of five SWPL or League Cup matches to be broadcast live each season from 2022/23.

From 2024/25 there is also an increase in the number of home games from any one club that can be televised, rising to five games a season from the current limit of four.

“I’m delighted,” SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster told STV. “It’s a genuine landmark moment for the sport in this country.

“To have secured, for seven years, a deal with the UK’s leading sports broadcaster, to be able to announce a record deal, and it’s by value the biggest single contract we have put into place in Scottish league football in 132 years of the league.”

The decision to extend the deal with Sky under those terms was backed by 41 out of 42 senior clubs, with Rangers the only side to object to the proposal.

The Ibrox club, who are in still in dispute with the SPFL over the recent cinch sponsorship deal, were highly critical of the process that led to the Sky extension being approved.

In a recent interview, Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson said: “I don’t think we sell it. We just go along and nudge it up a little bit. This is no criticism of Sky who are a good partner for Scottish football.

“We didn’t market-test this deal. We have no idea what else is available in the market so we don’t know whether it’s the best deal or not.”

The deal was widely debated on social media and criticised by many who felt the agreement failed to harness the full potential of the game.

Doncaster, who insisted that talks had taken place with other potential broadcasters, refuted allegations that the league was not getting the best for its members.

“I refute any claim that’s been made by anyone that the game is being undersold in this country,” he said.

“This is a deal that serves all 42 member clubs. It’s a deal that I believe is the right deal for the league, is the right deal for the 42 clubs, and that’s the reason I believe it’s been so heavily endorse by sich an overwhelming majority of clubs.”