Gaelic television agrees new TV deal for Challenge Cup
GAELIC television's coverage of Scottish football has been strengthened with the agreement of a sponsorship deal with the Scottish Football League which will see a semi-final and the final of the League Challenge Cup screened live on the new BBC Gaelic channel.
MG Alba, a body previously known as the Gaelic Media Service which makes Gaelic television programmes, is the new title sponsor of the Challenge Cup which will now be renamed the Alba Challenge Cup.
The partnership will run for this season's competition, with options for renewal for further seasons.
"This new partnership will allow us to significantly increase the total prize fund for this year's competition, but more importantly will include two live broadcasts," said SFL chief executive David Longmuir at Hampden Park yesterday, as the draw was made for the second round of the competition.
"Our aim has always been to improve the coverage and profile of the Challenge Cup and to increase the awareness of the true community spirit attached to the competition.
"This new partnership links the community aims of both organisations and provides live coverage of two very important games in the competition."
Earlier this month, the Scottish Premier League announced a two-year contract with production company MNE Media to show one SPL game per week on the new channel, which launches on 19 September. SPL fixtures will be shown on an as-live basis around three hours after the final whistle, with the emphasis on games that are not shown live by Setanta or on an on-demand basis by BT Vision.
The new digital channel will be available on satellite, cable and online platforms in the UK. It is planned that the channel will become available on the Freeview platform once digital switchover in northern and central Scotland has been completed, which is estimated to take place by 2010 or 2011.
In yesterday's second-round draw, the highlight was the all-First Division tie between Dunfermline and Queen of the South. Ties will be played on 12 and 13 August.
• Queen's Park will be honouring football author, broadcaster and historian Bob Crampsey. who died on Sunday, at Saturday's home match with Stranraer. Past president Gary Templeman said: "Bob was a life long friend of Queen's Park and our players will be wearing black armbands and the club will show their appreciation for the great man's life before the game. I would imagine that there will be a few visitors along to Hampden on Saturday who would like to join us in remembering Bob."
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