Premier Sports deal shows Neil Doncaster and SPFL are never able to win

Poor Neil Doncaster – and it’s not often anyone says that. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. But that’s what happens when you are chief executive of the SPFL.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster.

A press release was sent out in midweek relaying news that the SPFL had secured a two-year sponsorship deal for the League Cup, most recently known as the Betfred Cup.

It’s now the Premier Sports Cup, with the company also extending its broadcast deal until at least 2027. The reaction wasn’t overwhelmingly positive from the tone of the replies to a tweet from the SPFL confirming this deal.

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Beggars can’t be choosers and at least Scottish football is continuing to become less reliant on the betting industry.

While sports broadcasting isn’t quite so morally questionable, it’s not especially stable either – as BT Sports’ current situation makes clear. Reports indicate the pay-TV sports arm will soon be put up for sale by British Telecom.

Premier Sports’ founder Mickey O’Rourke’s involvement with Setanta, once dubbed “the most loathed sports channel in Britain”, has been noted. Setanta certainly left Scottish football in the lurch when it created a £25 million black hole in the game after going bust in 2009.

O’Rourke got involved in sports broadcasting as long ago as the World Cup in 1990.

He realised people were unable to watch Republic of Ireland v Holland and secured a deal with the BBC, who had the rights, to show the game in a London pub.

It’s hoped he knows what he’s doing by now but history advises caution in an unstable market with regards to Premier Sports’ future.

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