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Battle looms for armchair fans

BT Sport keen to kick Sky into touch for SPFL rights

BT SportBT Sport is poised to offer Scottish football its biggest-ever broadcasting deal in return for exclusive rights, according to a report.

SPFL sources say the telecoms giant is ready to raise the current £21 million shared deal with Sky to £31m a season for exclusive coverage.

BT and Sky Sports currently screen 60 live games. The telecoms company also has rights to the Scottish League Cup.

The Scottish Daily Mail reports that BT has launched a charm offensive to persuade club chairmen to sign an exclusive deal.

Senior club officials joined the SPFL’s Ralph Topping and Neil Doncaster in London for talks with BT executives, according to the paper.

BT Sport is clearly intent on becoming the dominate broadcaster of live football. Last week it signed a £1.2 billion three-year deal to renew coverage of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

SPFL figures were said to have attended a presentation at Twickenham, home of English rugby, to gauge the impact the broadcaster’s coverage of the Aviva Premiership

While the proposed Scottish deal is dwarfed by agreements south of the border, the resumption of Old Firm matches and the likely return of the Edinburgh derby next season has improved the attractiveness of the game in Scotland.

Sky retain rights to the Scottish Cup until next year and will hold its own talks with SPFL chairmen in what could yet become an auction.

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