The broadcasting giant has reportedly offered £30m per season for the TV rights to the SPFL
A potential new TV deal between the SPFL and Sky Sports is said to be hanging in the balance after Rangers refused to throw their support behind it. In a vote among 12 Scottish Premiership clubs, 11 agreed to sign the new deal, but the Glasgow club has refused to sign as of yet.
The proposed new deal would be worth £30m per season and would run until 2029. The existing deal between the two sees Sky pay £26m per season and runs until 2025.
The new proposal would also see an increase in the number of SPFL matches broadcast. The current deal gives Sky Sports the rights to air 48 games per season, but the new one would see that increased to 60, with an option to add another 10 matches per season for an additional £4m.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this proposed agreement is the clause which would allow every club the opportunity to broadcast five matches per season on pay-per-view via their own streaming channels, as long as they aren't scheduled to be aired on Sky Sports.
One other key change is that under this new agreement Sky would be obliged to show at least 42 games per season, a response to complaints made by Scottish clubs that the broadcasting giant wasn't airing all the games it was entitled to, thus depriving fans of the opportunity to see their clubs on TV and also harming the growth of the brand.
Despite the many positives of the proposal, not all clubs are over-the-moon with the make-up of this deal. Rangers are particularly skeptical about it, hence their decision to withhold support. It is believed that Rangers executives see more money in the market and would like to secure a more lucrative deal.
However, it's not only Rangers who have doubts. An indepedent report put out by Aberdeen, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts and Hibernian has suggested that the true value of broadcasting rights for the SPFL is closer to £50m per season.
Nonetheless, all of those clubs have, perhaps reluctantly, agreed to sign the new agreement with Sky Sports.
As it stands, the only hold-up to this new TV rights deal is Rangers, with the Glasgow club currently refusing to budge on the issue. It is understood that SPFL bosses are looking at ways to secure the deal with a mandatory vote, as opposed to a unanimous one, which would allow them to proceed without Rangers' support, but the legal implications of that are unclear at this time.
Rangers are also embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the league about their title sponsor Cinch. Back in June, it was revealed that Rangers had successfully won its battle with the SPFL over that deal, and will continue to benefit financially from the company's sponsorship of the league without needing to display or promote the brand. However, tensions continue to boil under the surface between the two when it comes to this particular issue.
Rangers and several other clubs in the league continue to have doubts about working with Sky Sports, mostly related to the financial offer on the table and also the broadcasting giant's track record of not showing a sufficient number of SPFL matches.
Whether Rangers will acquiesce and sign the deal like the other clubs have, or whether the league will look elsewhere for a broadcasting partner, remains to be seen.
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