Why Sky shouldn’t be the limit for Scottish football

Showing 2 of 5

1.Increased Finances

Whilst it is unrealistic to expect Scottish football to sell its TV rights to anything like the English Premier League’s £1.65bn deal, it should be able to rival those in similar sized countries.

Under the current deal, the SPFL receives £30m from Sky Sports. This is under a third received by the Belgian Jupiler Pro League (£93.2m), below half of the Norwegian Eliteserien (£61.7m) and less than both the Swedish Allsvenskan (£48m) and Danish Superliga (£46m). The proposed new deal would see Scotland fall from sixteenth to nineteenth place in European TV deal rankings.

Both the existing and proposed TV deals massively undersell Scottish football considering its relative population to the above-mentioned countries and global fan base of its two biggest clubs. Furthermore, the Scottish Premiership is the highest attended top flight per capita in Europe, therefore is befitting of a much better deal than the one proposed.

2. More Televised Games

As discussed, Sky Sports only televised 41 of their available 48 SPFL games last season. Despite their quota increasing to 60 under the proposed new package, they would probably only show one or two more. Big games would continue to be overlooked in favour of English football.

Last season for example, they opted to show a midweek EFL Cup tie between Preston and Liverpool ahead of Hibs v Celtic. Games involving Celtic or Rangers at Easter Road, Tynecastle, Pittodrie and Tannadice are among the biggest on the Scottish football calendar therefore should be prioritised.

If a much better deal was negotiated with one or multiple broadcasters (e.g. 65 games minimum a season) the following could be shown:

Photo Luke Nickerson/Rangers FC/Shutterstock

2.1 EVERY Celtic and Rangers away game

Last season, a number of Celtic games were omitted from being shown, including trips to Motherwell, Livingston, Aberdeen and Hibs. This trend continued with their recent trip to Ross County.

Celtic and Rangers are by far the biggest supported clubs in Scotland. Given the increased attendances they bring to every ground, as well as the thousands of people that tune it to their matches, all of their away fixtures should be covered.

Furthermore, it is not fair to fans that pay their subscription packages to a broadcaster that is unable/unwilling to show games they had been accustomed to receiving. This is not value for money when many households are struggling with the rising cost of living.

Cameron Carter-Vickers IMAGO / Shutterstock Photo by Luke Nickerson/

2.2 Televise more than one game over a weekend

The limited number of televised fixtures under the current deal all but prohibits more than one SPFL game being shown over a weekend.

This would allow Point 2.1 (EVERY Celtic and Rangers away game) to be realised, as they could still be televised when there is another big match over the same weekend. For example, Ross County v Celtic was not televised due to the Edinburgh derby being shown the next day.

Sky Sports were right to show the Edinburgh derby. It is a huge game that deserves to be showcased. So too does the Dundee and Highland derbies when their teams are in the top flight. However, they should be shown in addition to rather than instead of a Celtic or Rangers away game that attract the most viewers.

Throughout the season a selection of games involving other clubs should also be televised such as:

Aberdeen v Dundee United (the “New Firm” derby)
Hibs/Hearts v Aberdeen
Dundee United v Hearts/Hibs
Top six deciders
Post split relegation battles
Play-off games for each division.

Continued on next page…

Showing 2 of 5

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. I couldn’t agree more with each of the points highlighted in the article. Especially the point about away fan allocation. We constantly hear from clubs outwith Celtic and Rangers that they don’t have the budgets to compete with the big two yet they’d rather see thousands of empty seats at their grounds than receive the additional income from filling those vacant seats with away supporters whichever teams they are playing. They cannot argue on one hand that they strive for greater revenue yet turn away the opportunity to acquire that revenue, albeit from away support. Cutting off noses to spite one’s face comes to mind. Futhermore, clubs in the SPFL often vote to protect their own interests by voting against expansion of the league to protect the income they receive by playing against the big two at least three times per season yet limit the away support when their grounds are half empty. Where is the logic in that? We need a complete overhaul of the league structure by expanding it to eighteen clubs with proper relegation and promotion, playoffs if practicable, and do away with this ludicrous split. I’m not suggesting that Celtic and Rangers won’t continue to dominate but there is a serious lack of ambition from the smaller clubs. They are happy in their self-interest to hunger after crumbs rather than develop Scottish football as a whole and grow the product to make it a more attractive spectacle. Scottish football is being governed by a bunch of inept, insular, antediluvian carrion crows.

    • Most if not all of these clubs struggle to get the basics right, on and off the field!

      A lot of the time, watching a Scottish league game is similar to watching a kick about in a local park; players lack basic technique, teams lack structural discipline and tactics are basic!

      These are all things that could easily be taught and coached into players and teams, but nobody bothers, and it shows more when our 3rd place finishers and below enter European competition for their annual pumping, often against teams working with similar budgets but who do get those basic fundamentals of the game right!

      We have 3 choices as far as our leagues concerned, that i can see:

      1. Do nothing, stay as is, 12 team set up with nobody outwith Glasgow learning or progressing.

      2. Form a 14 team top flight, Championship and 3rd tier, with a split after 26 games in each, promotion/ relegation etc, and hope its better than present over time!

      3. Form a closed Premier League consisting solely of Full-time professional clubs(i think we have around 21 – 22?), with no relegation, and hope teams can use this to their advantage by using the breathing space with fear of relegation removed to work on technique, tactics etc, perhaps even fielding more youth.

      … wouldn’t do our league any harm if a company like Red Bull decided to invest in a team outwith Glasgow too, create a third force in the league…

  2. A single Celtic v *rangers game can attract approximately about 1.5 million legitimate viewers worldwide, and a lot more if you count, ahem, streams of the game!

    Could Celtic & *rangers get together and sell their own 4 game tv package for their league encounters against each other, sell them to armchair fans for £40 for all 4 say, and split the profit?

    … it’d bring in both clubs a lot more per season than they can ever hope to make off Sky or whoever!

    Let the SPFL weakly negotiate terms for games outwith the Glasgow Derby.

    It also looks as if the number of clubs in the leagues mentioned in this article has a direct effect on how much the offer from tv companies amounts to, with those from an 18 team league making more than those from a 16 team league, and so on down to 12 team leagues…this could be yet another reason why it’d be more beneficial to restructure our league, though anything more than 14 teams in it wouldn’t be able to cater for 4 Glasgow Derby’s/season, but in the long term this may actually be beneficial to the league as a whole as it’d half the number of fixtures potential opposition title challengers would face against the Glasgow clubs!

    Good article though and a lot of good points made.