SPL agree new deal with BBC Scotland but is it the same auld product?

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The Scottish Premier League have agreed a new three-year deal with BBC Scotland to cover matches across TV, radio and online, with the deal beginning next season.

There is no news on how much the deal is worth, but it will allow the BBC to broadcast TV highlights on Sportscene, cover live matches on BBC Radio Scotland and publish match highlights online through the BBC Sport website.

The deal will also see BBC Scotland provide up to ten live radio commentaries every season of Rangers’ games and publish match highlights online.

Neil Doncaster, the SPL’s chief executive, said: “The extended BBC deal ensures that SPL football will continue to be available on terrestrial television, as well as online and on mobile, making the league as accessible as possible for supporters. In the current economic climate, announcing a three-year partnership is also excellent news for our clubs.”

BBC Scotland’s head of sport, Ewan Angus, said: “There has been no shortage of talking points this season and our offering enables our audiences to stay on the ball, whether they are listening or watching at home or enjoying the content on the move with mobile technology.”

However, there is some consternation among Scottish Football fans and the product produced to cover our games. Many have criticised the format and lack of quality punditry on Sportscene, along with limited highlights and the failure to air post match interviews with players, managers and even in-depth analysis.

Will BBC Scotland come out and actually state how much it costs to produce such programmes for Scottish Football? Compare and contrast the product produced by the BBC programme Match of the Day, they spend nigh on £3.5 million for three pundits – Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer. How much do BBC Scotland spend on their entire season?

We fully understand that the SPL coverage has a limited audience as well as financial benefit to the BBC, however there are comments flying around – and I am one who has stated this on a number of occasions – that the Sportscene show is an after thought. In fact not much thought is put into the production of the show, the same pundits are in the studio saying the exact same thing as they did last week and with all respect to them they bring very little to the show.

The whole BBC Sportscene programme needs revamped as they will continue to see viewers switch off their televisions, turning instead to their English counterparts.

Again we understand that there are restrictions to what they can and cannot do, but why impose an inferior production upon us when with the last technology and the increasing role of social media and the internet, they can produce a product worthy of our game.

It is good news that a new deal has been signed but please ditch the auld product, revamp it, give it a fresh lick of paint and ditch the usual suspects for something more interesting, insightful and which promotes our game.

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