Football starved fans across the country look set to be offered the chance to buy virtual season tickets – as the SPFL close in on a revolutionary new broadcast deal with satellite giants Sky.
Record Sport understands crisis talks between the league’s chief executive Neil Doncaster and TV bosses have reached an advanced stage as they prepare to begin next season behind closed doors.
We told how, as part of the discussions, Sky could be willing to write off a potential £5.5m claw back claim for the failure to complete the 2019/20 campaign – with Doncaster attempting to negotiate a greatly reduced penalty sum of £1.5m, with payments spread over the next five years.
Now we can reveal the talks have also explored ways that Scotland’s cash strapped clubs might be able to create some sort of vital matchday revenue even although their turnstiles could remain locked for months.
It is believed Sky – who snapped up exclusive SPFL rights for the next five years in a deal worth £150m – understand the need for clubs to be able to raise extra cash as the game in this country battles to survive the financial ramifications of the coronavirus crisis.
And they accept that allowing matches to be live-streamed into the living rooms of fans around the country could help provide a financial lifeline.
(Image: SNS Group Ross)
Doncaster’s plan would allow each club to live stream matches using their own online channels to virtual season ticket holders.
One Premiership chairman told Record Sport: “We are waiting for the exact details of how such an agreement would be structured but we are told more information will follow shortly as the discussions between Neil Doncaster and Sky are at an advanced stage.
“Clearly, there is a willingness on Sky’s side to help our clubs get through this and to protect them from the consequences of Covid-19.
“Obviously these are unprecedented times and it’s very encouraging that, as a result of Neil’s discussions, the league’s broadcasters are prepared to give clubs a helping hand.
“Everyone knows Scottish football cannot be sustained financially behind closed doors but something like this, allowing clubs to sell games to fans, would be an enormous shot in the arm at an incredibly difficult moment.”