THE Scottish Professional Football League has agreed a television deal that will see at least 15 Rangers games and four Edinburgh derbies screened live next season.
Almost 90 league games will be shown live across three broadcasters.
A five-year deal for Scottish football’s television rights was agreed in 2012 shortly after Rangers went into liquidation but the relegation of Hearts and Hibernian to join the Ibrox club in the Scottish Championship prompted more negotiations this summer.
Sky Sports and BT Sport will show 70 games between them, including the Rangers games and the four Hearts-Hibs contests.
And BBC ALBA will add to its existing coverage, which is mainly pre-recorded 90 minutes of Scottish Premiership games plus a few live games, by screening 16 live matches from the three lower divisions.
The coverage kicks off with Rangers’ opening Championship encounter against Hearts, which is on Sky Sports on Sunday, August 10.
Rangers’ second game, at Falkirk, will be shown by BT Sport on the following Friday night while Sky will screen the opening Edinburgh derby two days later.
All of Celtic’s four league games in August will be shown live, with three of them kicking off at 1230.
Their opening match at St Johnstone remains scheduled for August 13 but their fans face early trips to Inverness and Dundee later in the month.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with both Sky Sports and BT Sport to include live coverage of all four of this season’s Scottish Championship Edinburgh derbies.
“Combined with BBC ALBA’s live coverage of a further 16 matches from across the Championship, League 1 and League 2, viewers will be able to follow the drama every step of the way.
“All this means more live television exposure for Scottish league football than ever before.”
Only the August screenings have been chosen and BBC ALBA will announce its initial selections next week.