SKY Sports have strengthened their grip on live television rights for Scotland international matches after agreeing a new four-year deal with the SFA for all of the national team’s home friendly fixtures.
The satellite broadcasting giants had already secured a contract to show all of Scotland’s home and away qualifying games in both the 2016 European Championship and the 2018 World Cup, which are now centrally marketed by Uefa.
It is another blow to BBC Scotland whose live coverage of the national team for the period will be restricted to individual bids for away friendly matches.
Also included in the deal announced yesterday with Sky is continued live coverage of the Scottish Cup and, for the first time, television rights for the Scottish FA Youth Cup.
The new deal, which runs from the start of next season until the summer of 2018, is worth at least £56 million to the SFA, an increase of £3 million on the previous four-year contract with Sky Sports.
“We are delighted to extend our excellent relationship with Sky Sports and look forward to at least another four years of world-class broadcasting of Scottish football’s biggest events,” said SFA chief executive Stewart Regan.
“The success of the William Hill Scottish Cup has been enhanced by Sky Sports’ extensive live coverage, the nation is fully behind Gordon Strachan as we continue our preparations ahead of the Uefa Euro 2016 qualifiers and the commitment to cover the Scottish FA Youth Cup allows supporters an opportunity to look at the next generation of young Scottish talent.”
The major boost to the SFA’s revenue streams will see some of the money redistributed to member clubs, while there will be significant continued investment in the governing body’s Performance Strategy project, national youth teams and women’s football.
Sky’s Scottish Cup contract allows them exclusive live coverage of two ties from rounds four, five and six of the competition, both semi-finals live – one exclusively – as well as the final.
Their agreement with the Scottish Professional Football League, which gives them live coverage of 30 games a season, is a separate deal which is due to expire in 2017.
“When it comes to Scottish football, Sky Sports has it covered,” said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis.
“This new deal with the Scottish FA means we’ve got the best choice of international, league and cup football for our viewers for the next four years. Our commitment to Scottish football began on our first day in April 1991, and we’re delighted to continue to be able to tell the best stories from Scotland’s domestic and international football calendar.
“This deal comes at an exciting time for Sky Sports subscribers as we head into a year when we’ll be showing more live football than ever before. Our 2014 schedule includes football from the Premier League, Champions League, Uefa Euro 2016 qualifiers, Sky Bet Football League, La Liga, Capital One Cup and much more.”