Scottish football's financial woes
Scottish football is starting to face up to a life with Rangers in the third division. The Scottish Premier League's £80m five-year broadcasting deal with BSkyB and EPSN, which had not been signed, has been axed. It is thought that the new agreement is worth £50m to the 12 SPL teams over the same period. And with Celtic nailed-on football betting favourites to win the title in Rangers' absence, will people still be tuning in to watch the SPL?
It is thought that the absence of Rangers from the SPL will cost each team around £1m per season. There is, however, some anecdotal evidence that SPL season ticket sales have improved, following appeals for support.
Of the 12 clubs in the top flight only Celtic reported turnover of greater than £8m in the last financial year, whiole the loss of £1m a year would have been enough to push four of the five SPL clubs that made a profit into the red. Finances were so tight at four clubs (Aberdeen, the two Dundee clubs and Hearts) that auditors had to qualify the accounts with a ''going concern' comment.
However, to put the current crisis into perspective, Scottish football faced a far greater crisis in 2008 when the collapse of Setanta left clubs with a £60m hole in their budgets.
One question is whether Scottish football has been selling its television frights too cheaply. Sky Sports agreed a deal last year for Leagues 1 and 2 of the Football League for £195m that was worth £1.35m per club.
Admittedly with Rangers present, the SPL was the 11th most supported league in Europe last season. There were higher attendances than in the Belgian, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish and Danish leagues among others, but all these leagues receive more television revenue.
One of the problems is the extent to which the Scottish leagues are overshadowed by the competition south of the border.