Sky have given SPFL Premiership clubs the go-ahead to continue broadcasting home games on in-house TV channels in a repeat of the streaming services which have been offered this term.
With fans locked out of stadia across Scotland due to coronavirus restrictions clubs were permitted to show home matches on their own online streaming services by broadcast rights holders Sky Sports this season.
And the agreement will be repeated meaning 228 matches – including Hearts’ return to the top-flight- will be available to season ticket holders for 2021-22 after a major new deal was struck between the league and broadcaster for next season.
Clubs will be able to sell a season ticket package including all home league games, while also offering any home match not broadcast live by Sky, on a pay-per-view basis.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “For the past few months, there have been intense, detailed discussions between ourselves, Sky Sports and our clubs to give fans certainty that they will be able to watch their heroes playing live next season, irrespective of when supporters are allowed back into stadia. Today’s announcement is a major boost for everyone involved in the game.
“Obviously, we are all desperate to get supporters back into grounds on a safe and sustainable basis and are making good progress in our discussions with the Scottish Government, especially given the pace of the vaccine roll-out.
“In a normal season, almost five million fans attend SPFL games, the highest per capita attendance in Europe, and the current broadcast deals have been an absolute lifeline for clubs and supporters alike as they battle the enormous financial pressures caused by Covid-19. The television viewer numbers for Scottish football this season have been magnificent and this was one of the key reasons behind our agreement with Sky Sports to extend our current arrangements.
“Sky Sports have been enormously supportive and, in the UK and Ireland, will continue to screen up to 48 live Scottish Premiership matches, as well as the Premiership / Championship play-off finals.”