By Scott Gibson
Premier Sports have won TV rights for the Scottish Cup in a record £20 million six-year deal.
SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “The William Hill Scottish Cup is a tournament that is steeped in history.
“In it, the clubs and players have created countless unforgettable memories and this deal will ensure that more action than ever before will be broadcast live to the nation.
“It will also drive significant revenue back to all the clubs who participate in the competition, ensuring ongoing investment into the game.
“We look forward to working with Premier Sports and the BBC to help us continue to tell the stories and cover the action of our top knockout competition.”
Premier Sports, who have broadcasted European Qualifiers featuring Celtic and Rangers this season, move to Scottish domestic football for the first time. They will broadcast one of the Scottish Cup semi finals exclusively while the other Semi-Final matchup and penultimate final will be shown across BBC and Premier Sports.
Richard Webb, chief operating officer at Premier Sports, said: “We are proud to be guardians of this historic cup competition and understand the significance, history and traditions the famous trophy demands.
“We look forward to bringing viewers quality coverage of the tournament’s biggest games for the next six years.”
The move has been met with a mixed response from Scottish football followers as this is now the third paid subscription fans would need to sign up for to view Scottish games.
To be able to view all three major competitions that Scottish teams are involved in domestically- the Premiership, Betfred Cup and Scottish Cup- Scottish football fanatics would now need to subscribe to Premier Sports, Sky and BT Sport. They will also have to fork out for their BBC License fee. Together, these prices combined would accumulate to approximately £890 a year.
For the normal working class football follower, this is a very steep figure that you have to pay to get your dose of Scottish Football.
The controversial move from the SFA has sparked outrage from fans across the country and furthermore, the main question that has been asked, to what extent have supporters been thought about? Was it even considered what financial impact this will have on football fans?
However, BT sport and BBC commentator and presenter Rob MacLean, believes the deal is a positive move for Scottish football.
“More money into Scottish football has got to be beneficial assuming this is a better deal than the one that went before it. It’s a bit of a surprise to find out that Sky aren’t involved any more.
“The Scottish cup is going to get a lot better coverage or more extensive coverage now.
“Scottish football fans have got to accept that we pay for football one way or another, either by going to the games and paying to get in or you have to pay to watch it and even if your watching it on the BBC your having to pay a license fee.
“You’re watching it on Premier Sports, or Sky or BT, there’s subscription involved. We do moan about these things constantly but I think that’s just the way it is and we have to accept it and what we’re doing by paying to watch football, we’re investing in the game and you would hope the people that are counting the money are using it wisely and hopefully it’ll all lead to a positive ending.”
This deal comes after Sky and BT battled head-to-head to win the Premiership TV rights. The two TV giants were locked in a bidding war this week where the SPFL asked broadcasters to present their case for covering Scottish top flight Football. The deal could be worth £40 million, which would be highest fee ever paid to cover Scottish football.