Sky Sports have reached agreement with the Scottish Premier League to continue their coverage of Scottish football for at least another five years.
As part of the deal – which was announced by Sky yesterday afternoon – 30 live matches will be shown per season, including five live Rangers fixtures from the Scottish Football League.
Coverage of the SPL begins with Celtic versus Aberdeen this Saturday lunchtime, with a kick-off time of 12:45pm. Neil Lennon’s men will carry out the traditional unfurling of the championship flag prior to kick-off.
Rangers’ first game in the Irn-Bru Third Division, away to Peterhead on 11 August at 12:45pm, will also be broadcast live.
The SPL had agreed a TV deal worth £80m over five years with Sky and fellow broadcaster ESPN before the old Rangers slipped towards liquidation, and there had been great fears in recent months that a TV deal might disappear as a result of the Ibrox club dropping out of the SPL.
No figures have yet been released about the value of the new deal, which is subject to ratification by the SPL clubs on Friday, but yesterday’s announcement is likely to come as a big relief to many top-flight clubs.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “We’ve supported Scottish football since we started, over 20 years ago, and have always wanted to continue that commitment.
“Our viewers will see the SPL for five more years and our schedule includes the opening league match for Celtic.
“We will also follow Rangers as they plot their way back to Scottish football’s top flight.
“Clubs now have certainty over their income and exposure across the UK and Ireland and we look forward to the new season.”
Sky Sports’ schedules now include the SPL and SFL, all of Scotland’s home internationals, including World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Macedonia in September, the Scottish Cup plus Under-21 and Under-16 fixtures.