Scottish football row wrecks pitch

The collapse of the Scottish Premier League’s (SPL) plans to launch a subscription channel has ended the pitch for a &£3m advertising account to promote the service.

Insiders say the SPL was close to appointing an agency to handle the work. A shortlist, featuring Faulds, the Leith Advertising Agency and 1576, had been drawn up following strategy meetings, and the agencies were preparing a full pitch.

If the plans had gone ahead, the new channel would have been marketed in England as well as Scotland. It is thought 250,000 subscribers would have been needed for the channel to break even.

The SPL has 12 teams, and the subscription channel plans have been vetoed by the two largest, Celtic and Rangers, which claim that the SPL does not have a robust enough business plan and overestimates the number of potential subscribers.

The ditching of the proposals means the SPL has no broadcast deal for next season.

There is speculation that Celtic and Rangers intend to set up their own TV channel to sell broadcast rights and that they may be hoping to join a restructured English Football league.

The failure of the proposals comes against a background of great uncertainty surrounding sports pay-TV rights, with ITV Digital on the brink of folding due to its huge debts to football clubs and Germany’s Kirch Media also facing collapse.

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