Scottish Premier League close to securing renewed Sky Sports deal


The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) is close to extending its domestic broadcast partnership with Sky Sports in a £29.5 million-a-season ($50.7 million AUD) deal that will allow individual clubs to make five games a season available on a pay-per-view (PPV) basis, according to the Guardian.

Sky has been the sole broadcaster of the Scottish top-flight since the start of the 2020/21 season and previously shared the rights with BT Sport. The SPFL’s current deal is worth UK£26 million ($44.6 million AUD) a year for up to 48 games a year that lasts until 2025.

The Guardian says a new deal would see Sky allowed to show up to 60 matches each season and would be obliged to show at least 42 matchups, giving fans more chance of seeing their team on TV. Sky would also have the option of adding another 10 matches a year at a cost of UK£4 million (6.87 million AUD).

Although the SPFL and Sky Sports have been subject to criticism for their current arrangement, with some clubs feeling the rights are undervalued, the hope is that the lure of PPV matches via their own platforms will sweeten the deal.

In theory, any fixture that has not been selected by Sky as one of its featured games would be eligible for broadcast, provided it was not shown at 3pm on a Saturday. Scotland, along with England are one of two countries that impose a blackout on televised soccer when most games are taking place in order to protect attendances.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) has announced its own improved TV deal with the BBC.

The Gaelic language BBC Alba will increase the number of live games it broadcasts from six to 26, while BBC Scotland will show an extended 45 minute highlights programme each week. It will also have the option to stream one live game each weekend.

“The ongoing partnership with both BBC ALBA and BBC Scotland will be vital in growing the game in this country in the coming years, and their long-term support of the women’s game is truly appreciated,” SWPL managing director Fiona McIntyre said in a statement.

“This significant new agreement represents the growth and ambition we have for the League. It was a really exciting opening weekend of the SWPL season, and we know that viewers will be in for a treat for the rest of the season.

“We’re delighted that we’re increasing coverage of Scottish women’s football over the next three years,” added Louise Thornton, senior head of multi-platform commissioning at BBC Scotland. “Adding more highlights and live streams will significantly enhance our offering to audiences at an exciting time for the game in Scotland. We’re looking forward to working in partnership with BBC ALBA to deliver more free-to-air coverage of the SWPL.”

An amenities refresher for NSW grassroots custodian

The NSW Football Legacy Program has worked in conjunction with the Bayside Council in providing $150,000 to the Bexley North Football Club (BNFC) who join the vast growing number of successful applicants of the Infrastructure Stream, which is the second round screening process.

The Football Legacy program is a $10 million investment founded by the NSW Government. The program’s intention is to continue the established growth of female football through freshly refurbished community facilities.

Furthermore, development programs, participation initiatives and potential ventures involving tourism and international engagement are all at the forefront of the overall objective the NSW government has regarding the growth of football within the state.

The $150,000 grant in which BNFC are receiving is going to be spent sparingly. Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve is in dire need of a rejuvenation, given the club’s recent rise to popular interest within the Football St George Association, BNFC experienced an astounding spike in membership.

Since the 2021 season, the club witnessed a spike in members, a 35% increase surge in overall involvement, highlighted by a 40% increase in female involvement.

The traffic that the club began to experience was a confronting yet exciting time for the community operated club. Their previous facilities could not cater for the extravagant influx of participants, hence the club opting to collaborate with the Bayside Council.

The grant successfully attained will be used to upgrade the amenities at Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve from top to bottom. The newly furbished facility has hosts a conference room, referee room, medical room, canteen, and storage area.

Further funding requested by BNFC is expected to be utilized in rejuvenating the current change rooms and bathrooms, as well as a through fixup of the established home and away locker rooms. The end goal insight, is to accommodate highly regarded women’s footballing outlets in the future.

BNFC President Eddie Yazbeck, mentioned the importance of what this grant will provide.

“We have worked closely with Bayside Council to develop a site plan for Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve and together we applied for the NSW Football Legacy Fund to help make our vision a reality,” he said via press release. 

“This grant will deliver a much-needed infrastructure upgrade, addressing concerns such as accessibility and safety, improved canteen facilities, storage for our kits, change rooms for players and referees.”

The Facilities and Grants Officer at Football NSW, James Spanoudakis, also added via media release. 

“Amenity buildings are the heart and soul of all football clubs across NSW,” he said.

The new amenities is expected to be completed towards the conclusion of 2024, ready to go for the 2025 winter season.   

Melbourne City proudly unveil their state-of-the-art-facilities

Melbourne City have proudly showcased their clubs latest project through the unveiling of their new state-of-the-art-facility, located at Casey Fields in Cranbourne.

The City Football Academy Melbourne continues to push the already established high-standards in which football across Australia are beginning to reach. The facility will host the men’s and women’s teams, as well as the club’s grassroot program, and an administration office is also involved in the newly developed location.

The Melbourne based club were inspired by their British parent and European juggernauts Manchester City have some of, if not the best facilities in world football. Melbourne City’s latest facility was developed in accordance to the structure and framework relating to Manchester City.

Within the newly furnished building, it’s features are acknowledged to stand out amongst other rival A-League entity’s. A 60-seat theatre and community classroom was installed to host club officials and guests, 16 changerooms combined with Hydrotherapy pools and two gyms, all designed to propel their playing personnel in achieving their peak athletic condition. Administration spaces where also created for Sports Science, Sports Medicine and club officials to all reside in.

The official opening took place on April 10 by City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff PSM, and Melbourne City FC Vice Chairman Simon Pearce.

Located at the Casey Fields Sporting precinct in which is building quite the resume within the tenants it has acquired in various codes of sport across the state. The 5,900m2 facility that City now possess in their arsenal sits on eleven hectares of land, upon it they have five different football pitches, with varying surfaces.

The opportunities in which this facility presents to football fans and participants alike, are in abundance, 3,500 aspiring young football participants will be able to use the facilities on offer, with many more able to spectate City matches in which may be played at their Academy.

Melbourne City FC CEO Brad Rowse stated via press release:

“This amazing facility will be the new home to our Men’s, Women’s, Academy, and Administration teams, and will allow us to come together under the one roof to train, share ideas and challenge each other every single day.

“We’re setting new standards for football in Australia and laying the foundations for sustainable growth, on and off the pitch.”

With the latest edition of the McDonald’s City Cup being played at the newly launched facility, the tournament was a token showcasing that the clubs elite are not the only ones who will benefit from the facility but also local footballing communities in addition.

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