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Celtic blast SPL rights deal

Scottish Premier League club Celtic has criticised the league’s acceptance of a new, cut-price television rights deal with pay-broadcasters Sky Sports and ESPN.

The 12 SPL clubs voted – not unanimously – to accept the deal which is worth around half the previous deal, with collapsed broadcaster Setanta Sports.

UK newspaper The Guardian reports that Celtic chairman John Reid said, “No one should underestimate the blow that has been inflicted on this club and Scottish football by the way in which the whole affair has been handled and by the losses incurred.

“Last year’s decision to reject the Sky bid and opt for Setanta – arrived at against the strong opposition of Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen – has proved to be the disastrous misjudgment we indicated it might be, with Setanta now in administration…

“The whole SPL is now a commercial victim, in an uncompetitive TV market, in the middle of a recession, locked in for years to an income some 60 per cent lower than last year’s bid.

“This is the direct consequence of last year’s misjudgment, one that has cost us all some £70 million in a sport that desperately needs the income and where our supporters are already paying their own hard-earned cash.
“To Celtic it means a potential loss of up to £12m over the four-year period – the equivalent of around 6,500 season tickets each year.”

Celtic and Rangers, the two top SPL teams, had met last week to discuss buying out the rights themselves, claiming the deal could have benefited all clubs. Reid said, “We reserve the right to continue to explore those options not only for the longer-term benefit of Celtic football club but for everyone involved.”