Scottish football doubles its Setanta money

Setanta yesterday sealed a £125 million broadcasting deal – the biggest ever in Scottish football – which will see the Ireland-based sports channel remain the exclusive home of the Scottish Premier League, showing 60 live games each season until 2013-2014.

“We are punching above our weight in Europe and this injection of support from Setanta will enable us to continue that process,” Lex Gold, the SPL chairman, said.

“It’s more than doubling the money for the clubs, our current deal is £54.5m and this is £125m. Some of the deal is in relation to the next two years but the current deal will run it’s course.”

The deal is announced less than a month after Gretna, relegated from the SPL, folded altogether for lack of cash. The SPL divides 48 per cent of its broadcast income equally among the clubs, with the remainder being distributed to the 12 teams according to the league position.

“What you can take as a simple view here is that each club will double the money they are getting from broadcasting,” Gold said.

The cash injection is likely to reignite talks in Scotland for a SPL2.

The announcement is a turnaround for Scottish football, where despite the boom in broadcast rights in England, the SPL was faced with just a single bidder in 2004 after the BBC withdrew from negotiations. The deal has helped to establish Setanta as a major player in the UK sports rights market.

Setanta now claims 3 million subscribers, and says that it is “believed to be the fastest growing pay television operator in Europe”.

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