Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne has warned Sky and BT Sport that there will be no more bargain basement deals for screening Scottish football when their current contracts expire in 2020.
The building tycoon believes having interested parties fight it out for a long-term exclusive deal similar to BT Sport’s Betfred Cup agreement would yield the best return for the Premiership clubs.
Milne is fed up seeing the Scottish game treated as the poor man of Europe by the television companies, with the SPFL believed to receive just under £19 million a season from the pair under the terms of the existing contracts.
That leaves them at the foot of a table of the leading 18 European countries and although overseas rights and highlight packages take the total to £30m, the Aberdeen chairman is convinced that is still peanuts given the quality of the product.
Scottish clubs are stuck with the current set-up for another two seasons but Milne claims plans are already in place for a significant hike in revenue.
“I am absolutely convinced we will have a better broadcast deal next time round,” he said. “I would be extremely disappointed if it’s just an incremental improvement on what we’ve got. We have to work hard to get a multiple of what we already have. All the clubs have a part to play in this and everyone is working in the background to ensure we maximise our prospects of getting a really good deal this time round.
“I think in the last few seasons we have given Scottish football a great platform to go to the broadcasters with. I think it’s important to get the right sort of deal with a long-term partner, so we can have a clear plan and map out what we want to do with the game over a five to eight-year period.
“We need someone to help us grow the game in Scotland and create far better value within the game.
“I can see loads of benefits coming from just having one partner because it’s in their interests to make it stronger.”
Aberdeen have played a significant part in making the game better, finishing as Celtic’s closest rivals in four of the five seasons since Derek McInnes took over as manager.
Of course now the challenge is to close the gap on Celtic and see off the threat of a Rangers side boosted by the arrival of the high profile Steven Gerrard as manager. Milne is convinced Aberdeen can do just that as they intend to continue their best spell since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge 30 years ago.
He added: “It’s a very exciting time for Scottish football and I honestly feel that last season was the best for a long time. I think this season will continue with that, it will be more competitive and more exciting games.
“Hopefully within that, the likes of ourselves, Hearts, Hibs and Rangers can keep Celtic within touching distance. From an Aberdeen point of view, we haven’t had a period [like the current one] since Sir Alex Ferguson left and that is testament to Derek, Tony and their backroom team.
“The players have done really well and we still have a core of those players at the club but it will be tougher again this year. The league is getting stronger but we have been growing our budget every year.”