Rangers and SPFL fans outraged as £500M deal is doubled

Rangers and SPFL fans outraged as £500M deal is doubled
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: A TV Camera is seen filming the Sky Sports Friday Night Football Team prior to the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton FC at Villa Park on September 16, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

There’s a bit of outrage this morning after the EFL sold their broadcast rights to Sky Sports for around £1B, with Rangers fans in shock and looking at the SPFL deal by comparison which is £150M.

The anger from these fans is understandable to a degree, amid claims Scotland have undersold themselves compared with the ridiculous money England’s second division is getting.

It is true that the viewing figures for the biggest EFL matches (around 500,000) are beaten by Scotland’s Old Firm (700,000-1.5M) and average viewing figures are about the same for England’s Championship compared with Scottish Premiership as well.

So how come Scotland gets so much less?

The issue with Scottish football is not with viewing figures, it’s with value. With England’s Championship, there are 20 strong teams, many of whom are former or recent Premier League teams, and the global market for those teams dwarfs Scotland, outside of the Old Firm.

Scotland only really has the Glasgow giants to sell, where the Championship has the whole division.

Viewing figures in the UK are about the same for both divisions which could offer justification for rage over the differing TV deal values, but more people globally will watch Norwich and Burnley and Swansea etc than will watch St Mirren Dundee Utd.

It’s the individual match value that matters to broadcasters – what one will maximise the revenue not just in the UK but globally, and St Johnstone v Hearts has a lot less global attraction than some of the heavy hitters in the Championship.

Should the SPFL try to get better deals?

Yes, the negotiation skills on the part of the SPFL are poor, but their defence is they don’t have much of a product to offer, aside the Old Firm.

And when we think about it, prior to this new EFL deal, the Championship and lower leagues were worth £500M to the SPFL’s £150M. Obviously a difference but not the most giant gulf possible.

The issue is Scottish football will always be a backwater, a poor league – and its value is not great below second position.

But with the EFL’s new deal, there is definitely room for SPFL officials to conjure a stronger deal next time the negotiating table is there.

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