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Wings Over Scotland

Quick number crunching

Posted on July 05, 2012 by

Sky TV has somewhere in the region of 1 million subscribers in Scotland, of whom approximately 50% will also be Sky Sports subscribers.

Assuming all subscribers, both Sports and non-Sports, have the most basic package available (£21.50/month without Sports, £42.50/month with), that means Sky’s gross domestic-viewer revenue in Scotland is roughly £32m/month, or £384m/year.

The deal Sky signed with the Scottish Premier League for live broadcast rights over the next five years will see it pay the SPL around £1.3m/month, or £16m/year.

Should Sky pull out of the TV deal entirely in the event of Sevco Rangers FC being placed in SFL3 (or worse), and some subscribers cancel their service – either in anger or simply because it no longer includes Scottish football – the proportion of Scottish customers leaving which would lead to Sky making a net loss is just over 4%.

If we restrict ourselves to Sky Sports subscribers alone, and assume that they only cancel their Sports package (keeping their other channels), the figure is 13%. Or put another way, if Sky completely abandon Scottish football they need to still hang onto almost 90% of their Sports subscribers in Scotland in order not to lose money.

Simplified, obviously. Just thinking out loud.

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    15 to “Quick number crunching”

    1. TYRAN says:

      Yes big numbers.

      There also Sky Sports in Pubs for businesses, which is quite expensive. Something like £1,250 per month. Also Virgin Media with 3.4 million TV subscribers in UK. Some cash still goes to Sky for premium services.

    2. Neil McLean says:

      In the interest of fairness to Sky, they have never even hinted at an intention to pull out.  All such innuendo has come from ‘players’ such as Neil Doncaster, Stuart Regan, Jim Traynor and Hugh Keevins, all of whom can be at best described as ‘compromised’ give their swivel eyed rantings over the last few days.
      That said, If the TV companies do a runner and take their money then so be it. Scottish football was around, and much more competative and enjoyable, before Sky took an interest. If clubs go bust as a result, the fans will still be there.  Football will still be played, in a more frugal and sustainable manner, and it will be HONEST.
      If the powerpoint wielding merchants of doom get their way, our sport will be reduced to the level of WWE wrestling.

    3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Sky indeed haven’t said they’re going to pull out, although of course they haven’t exactly said “No, we’re committed to the deal we signed” either. The piece is just trying to get an idea of whether it would make sense for them to walk away or not.


    4. Mike Landers says:

      Of course, the assumption is that if Sky walk away then no-one else would come in and pick up the rights.  Which given the existence of ESPN, the BBC and ITV is unlikely.

      Hell, if RTE can still show the League of Ireland (weekly, with the occasional live match) alongside the Premiership coverage, then the likelihood of no broadcasts at all of SPL football would be approaching 0.

      And even if there were no broadcasts, then surely that could lead to more people watching the games?  Especially as the league is automatically more competitive without Zombie Rangers. 

    5. Doug Daniel says:

      Last season, we had BBC Alba showing games after they’d finished. If Sky walk away, BBC Scotland can pick up the tab and start showing LIVE games. That would actually be an improvement for those of us who already don’t have Sky!

    6. David McCann says:

      It is not often I praise the MSM, but I love this interview with David Hayman in STV’s ‘Scotland Today’, and my quote of the week by David.’“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”

    7. Iain Macmillan says:

      ’“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”  Terrific quote though it is I think you’ll find that David Hayman is actually using a traditional Native American proverb.

    8. Macart says:

      @ David McCann

      That’s a cracking interview with David Hayman. Very passionate and committed man, loved the way he just ran with pushing independence instead of using the interview to talk about his newly acquired doctorate.

      First class. 

    9. Barbarian says:

      How many subscribers do you honestly believe will cancel their subscriptions? Not enough to cause Sky any problems.

      Doug’s got it right, we might get back to terrestial tv showing football, rather than having to pay for it.

    10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Follow the logic. Sky aren’t philanthropists – presumably they bought the SPL rights because they figured they’d turn a profit on the deal from increased subscriptions. It therefore stands to reason that losing them might very possibly also lose them those subscriptions and therefore that profit – and that’s BEFORE you factor in anyone who didn’t sign up just for SPL games, but is disgusted with events and cancelling as a protest. They may well insist on renegotiating and reduce the size of the deal significantly, but I don’t see them walking away and slashing the income to zero, as in the SPL’s doomsday propaganda.

    11. Appleby says:

      I know quite a few people who have talked about cancelling their Sky package altogether because of it all and just sticking with the Freesat or Freeview boxes. Some are also talking about getting rid of the sports and cutting it to the minimum. If I’ve heard it then others will be talking about it too.

    12. redcliffe62 says:

      Sky are a big employer in scotland, as per FM’s comments.

      Perhaps if a journalist bothered to ask their opinion we might get an answer? 

      With BT starting, it would make perfect sanse for the Scottish Government to say they prefer Sky to continue, but if they do not then an equivalent deal with a shortfall will be offered short term by the Government and channels that broadcast in Scotland can bid for it. 

      So if ESPN, BT, Al Jazeera etc offer 60 mill and nobody else does then there is a 20 mill top up to the SFA.   

      As the beeb never release info on spending on Scottish football but are happy to do so on matter involving the English Championship, I wonder if the beeb can be told they get first crack at this deal if Sky fall over, but if they do not want it then STV can have it.  

      If this option is too hard for them at short notice, have Regan and co. forgotten that a deal to cover a package of games can be sold to the pay for view channels, say ten games each package, and the balance not sold will be on free to air at government expense. Watch them bid to avoid that, as subscriptions would drop markedly if footy was free on a Sunday afternoon.
      Remember ESPN Desportes and US and Fox Footy US and TSN in Canada and Al jazeera for Middle East etc will still buy games, as will many international groups like Setanta in Oz.  I am sure the “new Rangers” games will be covered as well in Oz and people pay a premium for any Scottish soccer here, effectively 10 quid a week.  
      Watching them getting gubbed at Elgin and other grounds previously unvisited will make it worthwhile for even Celtic supporters to watch!

    13. Seasick Dave says:

      There’s an excellent article in the Herald (yes, I know) about Stenhousemuir and its community programme.

      To me, this is what football is all about; not your Rangers, Celtics and Man Us all distorting the game with their greed and multi-millionaires.

      I feel that the Rangers situation may be good in the long term, leading to a more basic focus on community values and hopefully break the tribal behaviour we have come to despair of.

    14. John Lyons says:

      Thanks for that, I love sums. I had been swithering about cancelling my sports package or the whole lot. Cancelling the whole lot will not go down well with the rest of the family, but I’m inclined to hit Sky as hard as I can if they dump on Scottish football.

      However, subscriptions is only part of the story. What about advertising? This will be where sky makes it’s profit. It’s possible that talk of cancellations will be enough to scare off advertising money, or at least see it reduced. I will definately be cancelling my sports package if Sky reduce their committment now.

    15. david robert dickie says:

      Has this information re Sky Subscription ratio been updated ,seems even more important now with massive cash injections to English clubs and the usual pittance to Scots Clubs ,OUR game is dying from lack of investment or earnings .

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