Deloitte review

Review sets SPFL £50m revenue target

Ronald Gordon
Ron Gordon: excited by proposals (pic: Terry Murden)

Five Scottish football clubs have welcomed a plan to significantly increase distributable income to Scottish clubs from £28.4 million to £50m by 2029.

Aberdeen, Dundee, Dundee United, Hibs and Hearts commissioned Deloitte’s Sports Business Group to undertake a “critical and transparent” review of the Scottish Professional Football League in 2021.

The clubs said they have now developed a five-year strategic action plan to implement the recommendations of the review which has determined the same target figure targeted by Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack in December.

Proposals include turning the SPFL structure from a largely administrative body into a more robust and active commercial vehicle.

Marketing and commercial staff will be appointed with a view to maximising broadcast income and growing commercial partnerships and revenue. Making more from television deals, including overseas rights, is seen as a particular priority.

There is also an aim to market and promote the SPFL as the “most dramatic, passionate and exciting” league in Europe. Other goals are to develop the women’s elite game in Scotland and to create a sustainable youth development competitions programme for SPFL clubs.

“The strategic priorities are to maximise broadcast income and grow commercial partnerships and revenues,” said the clubs.

“This will include securing more commercially attractive deals with broadcasters and increasing the value of overseas rights which would see more matches being sold.

“Improving the image, brand and profile of the SPFL is also a priority with the ambition to position the league both domestically and internationally as the ‘most dramatic, passionate and exciting’ in Europe and to strengthen co-operation between clubs and the league.

“Other goals are to improve the profile, prowess and finances of the women’s elite game in Scotland and to establish a sustainable youth development competitions’ programme for SPFL clubs with the aim of nurturing young Scottish talent more effectively.”

The SPFL is expected to sign a new deal with Sky Sports which will generate £30 million a year for live rights to 60 matches per season by 2028-29. That could rise to £38 million if Sky take the option of televising an additional 20 games in each campaign from 2024. Sky presently pay around £25 million a year to show up to 48 games.

Responding to the Deloitte review, Hibernian executive chairman Ronald Gordon said: “We’re very excited about this strategic action plan which sets a new tone and direction for the SPFL and the game in Scotland.

“The proposed strategic building blocks are designed to grow our clubs, the SPFL, and the men’s and women’s game at every level.

“A more substantial and comprehensive broadcast partnership, a focused and robust commercial structure and team, an investment and commitment to the growth of the women’s game, and the development of our young men’s players are all critical to reaching our aspirational goal of £50 million in revenues.

“Football is Scotland’s passion – we have a dynamic and exciting league with historic clubs and passionate fans.

“The image and brand of the SPFL should reflect and celebrate the many positives that our clubs and league provide our communities across the country.


“I want to thank Aberdeen, Dundee, Dundee United, Heart and Hibs for their investment in the review, along with Celtic and Rangers for their participation and contributions in curating and refining the actionable recommendations of the study.

“Our thanks also go to the SPFL Board and Executive for their openness, receptivity and leadership in exploring and driving new ideas and opportunities to help advance, promote and grow our clubs, the league and our game.”

Neil Doncaster, the SPFL chief executive, has been criticised for under-selling the game, in particular signing a better deal with Sky. There was also a dispute with Rangers and Cinch over the Premiership title rights.

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