I see reports that the SPFL are looking to compensate for the TV contract for this season not being fulfilled by reducing the next five-year deal by £300k per season. It is worth putting some perspective on where the SPFL finds itself before assessing the merits of their approach.
The SPFL failed to perform to the existing contract, which specified a number of games to be broadcast at set times and dates, with backup dates available where re-arranged fixtures were necessary. These dates were all to be complete by 31 May, games played after this date would be outside Sky’s agreed (and premium) slots, and, as the Premier League in England have found out, would still constitute a failure to perform the contract.
Sky sold sponsorship and advertising on the back of this contract, which they themselves were unable to perform. Not only are subsequent payments in these contracts (SPFL with Sky and Sky with their advertisers) no longer due, an earlier payment that was made against a contract that was not performed can be subject to reclaim.
I am sure Sky’s legals were clear, end of season games deciding the title, relegation and European places, generate above average viewership and advertising revenue. They also provide video for future promotion of their sports product.
If this went to court, Sky would need to demonstrate a loss before forcing a repayment of monies, but their core metrics would support at least some compensation. These metrics are likely to have featured when Neil Doncaster first discussed the matter with Sky back in March. Control was always with the broadcaster; finding a solution that did not bankrupt the league was the primary objective.
A £300k rebate for five years represents a 1% discount on the reported figure Sky will pay the SPFL. In the circumstances, this would be astonishing. The deal is yet to be concluded, but if and when it is, it will be informative to see how reporting angles split on the story.