The SFA/SPL TV myth: how we compare to Europe


For the last 6 months we have heard how if Rangers are not in the top flight, then SKY will walk away.  The figures banded about have been complete fiction.  Now, thanks to Stenhousemuir being the first club to really reveal what Regan and Doncaster have been saying, we have some real figures to compare against.

All we had till yesterday was a commercial revenue of 18.7 million GBP

In the Stenhousemuir statement last night (here) they claimed that the SFA and the SPL (eg, Regan and Doncaster) had presented the SFL clubs with the following figures re: tv deals:

Rangers in SFL3:

  • Loss of Sky broadcasting payments of circa £10m/season
  • Loss of ESPN broadcasting payments of circa £5m/season
  • Loss of Sportfive broadcasting payments of £2.7m/season (overseas broadcasters)
  • Loss of sponsorship of £1m/season
  • Additional new broadcasting deal with income of £3m/season

Rangers in SFL1:

  • Sky and ESPN have committed to retain their deals but include Rangers Newco content during the season
  • Loss of Sportfive broadcasting payments of £2.7m/season (no requirement if no Old Firm games)
  • Loss of sponsorship of £1m/season

So, here we have the following confirmed.  DOMESTIC (I am excluding all other rights, as my figures below only include domestic rights, and not those sold to overseas) rights are currently 15m GBP per year.  If Rangers are in SFL1, then TV deal will more or less stay as it is.  If Rangers are in SFL3 then the TV deal will be only 3m GBP a year.

3,000,000 a year???!! Seriously?

Lets just assume for one minute that Regan/Doncaster are being serious.  How does this deal compare to other European countries?

There is 2 ways we could do this.  Firstly, we can compare total attendances and secondly, brand value.  I will explain brand value later, but lets start with Total Attendance,

The SPL, with Rangers, was the 11th most supported league (by attendances) in Europe last season.  We had higher attendances than the Belgian, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, Norweigan, Danish, Greek, Swiss, Austrian and Polish Premier Leagues.  How did our TV revenue compare?

Note I have converted to EURO’s, so 15m becomes 18.75m.

Country League Rank attendance Actual TV rights/year EUROs
SCO 1 11            3,116,574.00                 18,750,000.00
BEL 1 13            2,844,299.00                 45,700,000.00
SUI 1 18            2,045,762.00                 36,500,000.00
POL 1 19            1,950,048.00              5,760,000.00
NOR 1 20            1,931,144.00                 56,000,000.00
GRE 1 23            1,555,201.00                 44,000,000.00
AUT 1 24            1,452,970.00                 17,000,000.00
DEN 1 25            1,395,774.00                 45,000,000.00

As you can see, our deal does not compare very well (i have even included sources for these figures, just in case Doncaster thinks I am making them up!).  All the leagues below us in this table get more TV revenue than the Scottish game, apart from the Polish league and Austrian leagues.  However the Polish league has good oversea’s rights in Israel and Germany which boosts their revenue.

Another way to look at it is Brand Value.  I took the brand value from this excellent report on European football which looks at the value of clubs in the country and then ranks the countries and leagues according to brand value.  The SPL comes in at 16th in this list as you can see below.

Rank Country Value (millions) TV rights EURO
2 G ER 3,038        422,000,000.00
3 ESP 1,531        560,000,000.00
4 ITA 1,122        892,000,000.00
5 FRA 849        517,000,000.00
10 SUI 201          36,500,000.00
11 DEN 155          45,000,000.00
12 BEL 150          45,700,000.00
13 NOR 108          56,000,000.00
14 POR 108  ?
15 ROU 102  ?
16 SCO 96          18,750,000.00
17 SRB 77  ?
18 AUT 70          17,000,000.00
19 POL 54            5,760,000.00
20 SWE 50  ?
21 GRE 44          44,000,000.00
26 HUN 19            3,500,000.00
37 IRL 4.5            1,000,000.00

As you can see, Scotland is still ahead of countries like Austria and Greece.  Our brand value is not far behind Norway which has a deal almost 4 times what we have.

Based on the 2 tables above, it looks like our current deal is well undervalued, compared to other European countries, but lets adjust it for there being no Rangers.  As Regan and Doncaster have just told us thanks to Stenhousemuir, our deal is ONLY 3,000,000 should Rangers be there.  Here is the table for attendances again, minus ALL Rangers fans throughout the season; (again, adjusted to EUROs)

Country League Rank attendance Actual TV rights/year
BEL 1 13            2,844,299.00                 45,700,000.00
SCO 1 11            2,396,574.00 3,600,000.00
SUI 1 18            2,045,762.00                 36,500,000.00
POL 1 19            1,950,048.00                   5,760,000.00
NOR 1 20            1,931,144.00                 56,000,000.00
GRE 1 23            1,555,201.00                 44,000,000.00
AUT 1 24            1,452,970.00                 17,000,000.00
DEN 1 25            1,395,774.00                 45,000,000.00

As you can see we are now behind Belgian but far ahead of the Swiss, the Danish, Greeks, and Norwegians.  Infact, our ‘NEW’ deal would be equivalent to what the Hungarian league takes in TV revenue domestically (they also have a deal for games to be shown in Romania which I haven’t included) .

Just to put that in perspective, the Scottish game gets 2.4 million fans (after taking out the Rangers fans!), while the Hungarian League attracts just 700k fans.  3.5 times less.  The Scottish game has a brand value of 96 million, while the Hungarian league has a value of 19million!!  Yet our TV deal will be the same?  We will get half of what the Polish league gets, despite us having more fans and a higher brand value?

Ok, So Doncaster and Regan are talking ****.  We knew that though.  What we really want to know is what SHOULD our TV deal be.  Based on the tables above I extrapolated the attendances against TV revenue for all the countries I could find data on and then used the ratio of tv revenue/attendances to predict what each country SHOULD get.  The table below assumes Rangers are NOT in the league, yet keeping our current TV deal:

Average Ratio 17.93
Country League attendance Actual TV rights/year Ratio Estimated TV Under/Over value
RUS 1         2,896,940.00   51,940,174.73
BEL 1         2,844,299.00                 45,700,000.00 16.07   50,996,357.21          (5,296,357.21)
FRA 2         2,590,962.00   46,454,196.15
ITA 2         2,399,991.00   43,030,215.29
SCO 1         2,396,574.00  18,750,000.00 5.341   42,968,950.80  (24,962,700.79)
POR 1         2,379,165.00   42,656,819.20
UKR 1         2,215,430.00   39,721,161.40
SUI 1         2,045,762.00                 36,500,000.00 17.84   36,679,128.92              (179,128.92)
POL 1         1,950,048.00                   5,760,000.00 2.954   34,963,041.64
NOR 1         1,931,144.00                 56,000,000.00 29   34,624,105.71          21,375,894.29
RUS 2         1,660,545.00   29,772,448.67
SWE 1         1,556,651.00   27,909,699.52
GRE 1         1,555,201.00                 44,000,000.00 28.29   27,883,702.00          16,116,298.00
AUT 1         1,452,970.00                 17,000,000.00 11.7   26,050,769.32          (9,050,769.32)
DEN 1         1,395,774.00                 45,000,000.00 32.24   25,025,283.73          19,974,716.27

Even if we keep our current TV deal of 15,000,000 GBP (note, figures above are in EURO), then a game without Rangers is still UNDERVALUED to the tune of 24,000,000 EUROs when compared to other European leagues!!

If we take the Doncaster/Regan figures of 3.5million Euros, our game would be undervalued at close to 39m Euro’s! 

Throughout this saga we have been fed lie after lie.  I have already proven our clubs won’t go bankrupt, as have others.  No club has ever challenged figures presented by me here, by others (such as Killie fans here) or by Motherwell themselves.  I now challenge Doncaster and co to challenge these figures.

Maybe someone in the MSM would like to ask Doncaster and Regan WHY they undervalue our game so much?

My full worksheet can be found here on Google Docs – I have made assumptions, but if you can improve this please do so!

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