ESPN has followed rival BSkyB in maintaining its commitment to the Scottish Premier League (SPL) by signing a new five-year broadcast deal, reports SportBusiness. The new agreement covers the seasons from 2012-13 to 2016-17 and will see ESPN televise 30 games live per season from the SPL and 10 Rangers games live per year from the Scottish Third Division. The deal represents 10 more live Scottish football games on the network than in previous seasons.
The ESPN contract comes after Sky confirmed a similar agreement consisting of SPL and Rangers games over the same timeframe. Sky is providing live coverage of 30 SPL matches per season, plus highlights programming. Their deal also includes five live Rangers matches from the Scottish Football League.
With Rangers having dropped out of the SPL after being liquidated, serious question marks were raised over the attractiveness of the Scottish top flight to broadcasters.
The SPL had agreed five-year deals with Sky and rival pay-tv broadcaster ESPN for the period 2012-13 to 2016-17, worth a total of £80 million.
Financial details of the two new deals were not disclosed, but reports have suggested that they do not represent a significant reduction in revenue for the SPL clubs.