SPL chief exec: More sponsors’ cash for new league

Partick Thistle celebrate becoming the final Irn-Bru First Division champions. Picture: Robert Perry

Partick Thistle celebrate becoming the final Irn-Bru First Division champions. Picture: Robert Perry

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SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster insists the new single league body formed this week will be able to squeeze more cash from sponsors.

The terms of the top-flight’s current four-year broadcasting deal with Sky and ESPN/BT are expected to be honoured by the merged league but a title sponsor for the top division is an urgent necessity following the Clydesdale Bank’s decision to end their backing after six years.

SFL sponsor Irn-Bru have stated their interest in sponsoring the combined league. Irn-Bru paid the SFL around £1 million a year for title sponsorship of Scotland’s three lower divisions, while Clydesdale paid around double that amount to sponsor the top tier.

But Doncaster believes the so-called Scottish Professional Football League is a potential money-spinner.

He said: “It’s very, very helpful that a single merged league can talk with one voice and represent all 42 clubs with one voice in conversations with sponsors and broadcasters. Certainly I would expect this would only enhance the value of being associated with football in this country.

“The discussions on a new title sponsor remain ongoing and clearly yesterday’s announcement can only be of assistance in discussions with potential sponsors.”

The SPFL will hold its first board meeting on June 27 when more details about its make-up are expected to be announced.

A spokesman for Irn-Bru producers Barr, who saw their £1.4 billion merger with Britvic approved by competition authorities this week, said: “Our partnership with the SFL and the clubs has been a successful one.

“Over the coming weeks, we will continue to have dialogue with the relevant parties with a view to understanding the new football landscape.”

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