KILMARNOCK chairman Michael Johnston expects the Scottish Premier League to retain the bulk of its broadcasting income this season with ESPN set to follow Sky Sports in confirming their renewed commitment.
Sky Sports announced earlier this week they would continue showing SPL games for at least five more years despite concerns that the loss of Rangers would herald the end of broadcasting deals.
Scottish Football League clubs were told in a presentation by the football authorities in June that the SPL broadcasting value could be as low as £3 million a year if the new Rangers were voted into the Irn-Bru Third Division.
But those fears appear to have been largely allayed. Sky and ESPN had a year to run on their existing £13 million annual contract but were due to sign a £16 million deal this summer.
The SPL had to pay the SFL for rights to Rangers games, which will also be shown on Sky, but the value of the existing deal looks to have been retained.
Johnston, whose club announced a six-figure sponsorship deal with Strathaven-based engineering firm QTS yesterday, said: “The good news for Kilmarnock is made even better by the news that Sky are going to carry on their five-year deal and I believe ESPN are going to carry on with their planned sponsorship as well.
“This should all be voted on at a meeting of SPL clubs tomorrow and Dundee will formally become SPL members.”
Johnston estimates the loss of two Rangers games will cost his club £300,000 but he does not expect a major loss in SPL revenue.
“There have been no announcements by the SPL on figures and details and hopefully that will be clarified on Friday but it is my understanding there will not be any significant reduction in broadcasting contract revenues,” he said.