Scottish Premiership clubs will be able to stream live matches and sell virtual season tickets after a deal was struck between the SPFL and Sky Sports.
Clubs can create a ‘virtual season ticket’ for all home games for the 2020/21 season, providing an alternative source of matchday income while social distancing measures prevent fans from attending matches. During the 2020/21 season, each Premiership club will be able to sell a package to season ticket holders to watch all home games.
From August, Sky will offer 48 SPFL games live on Sky Sports.
The SPFL and Sky have also agreed to spread the financial settlement for the games unable to be broadcast as part of the 2019/20 season across the term of the new five-year agreement.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “This is an innovative and pragmatic solution to the challenges posed by Covid-19 and I’m grateful for the flexibility shown by our clubs and by Sky Sports.
“This agreement means that any liability for games not delivered during Season 2019/20 has now been settled, on terms that reflect Sky’s status as a committed partner and supporter of Scottish football.”
Rob Webster, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports is proud of our long-standing relationship with Scottish football and we have been committed to finding a positive solution for the SPFL and clubs. The virtual season ticket for the 2020/21 season is an innovative way to maintain the connection with fans and provide economic stability for the clubs, and we are very happy to support it.
“The new season promises to be a unique experience for the Scottish Premiership and our approach is to be as flexible and supportive of the clubs as we can be in these unique times.”
Dave Cormack commented on the official club website: “AFC welcomes the Sky deal brokered by the SPFL. Given the current circumstances we find ourselves in, it is an excellent deal and we really appreciate Sky’s constructive, partnership approach.
From the outset our commitment to supporters has been to deliver full value for our season ticket holders. Under this deal, AFC will be able to offer virtual access to season ticket holders for all closed-door home games and will continue to work with our colleagues at fellow Premiership clubs to explore potential arrangements to show away games.
There will be costs involved for us in implementing this broadcast deal but, allied with the suggested timetable for getting back to football, it gives us more certainty to develop a virtual package that will offer our season ticket holders and seasonal corporate clients the exclusive opportunity to watch the team in action once again.
Over 6,400 fans have supported the Club by purchasing a season ticket for which we thank you. While we finalise the details for a full-value package, my plea is that you continue to place your trust in me and the Club by buying season tickets because, for those who can, your support is still very much needed. Our guarantee is that we will make sure your season ticket is money well spent.
We’re really excited about getting back to training later this month with a view to closed door games kicking off at the start of August and, whilst we appreciate we are operating under ever-changing circumstances, we’re preparing, and hoping, to return to Pittodrie with partial crowds from November or December and full crowds in January 2021.”