Sportscene to show “enhanced match coverage” in new BBC deal

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Sportscene will show “enhanced match coverage” next season under the terms of a new £11 million-plus broadcasting deal struck with the Scottish Professional Football League.

The SPFL has signed a four-year contract with BBC Scotland by which the corporation will continue to provide TV and online highlights and live radio commentary of Ladbrokes Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2 matches from season 2016-17.

The deal is worth £2.8m per season, double the value of the existing deal.

The enhanced coverage will see four cameras deployed at the majority of games, rather than two. However, the length of the highlights packages will remain the same.

Sportscene, BBC Scotland’s flagship football show, has been criticised this season for the standard of its punditry, with Dundee manager Paul Hartley being particulalry scathing.

The broadcaster was also accused of getting the rights to the Scottish game too cheaply, with SPFL chairman Ralph Topping questioning the BBC’s commitment to the national game in Scotland.

Topping was looking to increase the value of the corporation’s commitment to between £3m and £4m per season. While the final figure has fallen short of that, it is understood all parties are happy with the new contract.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “This is fantastic news for Scottish football fans. Everyone at the SPFL is delighted that our long-standing partnership with BBC Scotland has been extended by another four years in this new and significantly improved deal for both parties.

“During the process of negotiating with the BBC, the SPFL Board has been very robust and clear in its view of what we believe Scottish football coverage is worth and we are pleased that this has been taken on board and reflected by an improved agreement.

“As part of that we’re also delighted that supporters will see enhanced match coverage which we’ll provide to the BBC as part of the new contract.

“We look forward to working with BBC Scotland’s excellent team of sports producers and journalists in the four years ahead, covering our national sport and bringing the very best of the SPFL action to TV and radio audiences.”

BBC Scotland’s head of sport Ewan Angus said: “We’re extremely pleased to extend our important partnership with the SPFL over the next four years. BBC Scotland’s main aim was to provide supporters with improved coverage while also ensuring we get value for money for everyone who pays the licence fee.

“We firmly believe this new deal will benefit Scottish football as a whole by enhancing Sportscene’s match highlights through increased camera provision and also allowing us to offer footage for fans on social media,” he said.

The new BBC contract was approved by Ladbrokes Premiership clubs and the SPFL Board.

The announcement follows news earlier this season that Sky Sports and BT Sport will continue to broadcast live Ladbrokes Premiership matches until the end of season 2019-20.

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