Viaplay: Broadcaster of Scotland games and Scottish League Cup to pull out of UK


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Jun 9, 2008
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Cancelling the cancel culture
Viaplay is to end its coverage of sport in the UK, which includes broadcasting Scotland men's matches, the Scottish League Cup and URC rugby.

The Nordic company, also title sponsor of the Scottish League Cup, has a deal to televise Scotland games until 2028.

The BBC understands all SPFL payments are up to date and it is anticipated games will still be shown this season.

Viaplay confirmed Saturday's League Cup tie between Motherwell and Queen's Park will be on live as scheduled.

The broadcaster, which acquired Premier Sports and its rights last year, also showed last season's United Rugby Championship featuring Edinburgh and Glasgow.

They have a deal to broadcast the Scottish Cup alongside BBC Scotland until next year, while their League Cup rights run until 2027.

The contract to show Scotland games - which saw Steve Clarke's side record memorable wins against Spain, Norway and Georgia on the channel - is brokered through Uefa.

Uefa has said it "is aware of the announcement" and "is in contact with the relevant stakeholders" but has no further comment.

Viaplay announced on Thursday that they will lay off a quarter of its staff to cut costs with huge losses imminent.

"We will exit Poland, Baltics, UK, US and Canada to re-focus on the Nordics and Netherlands," said CEO Jorgen Madsen Lindemann. "(We will) exit in the form of disposal, partnering or winding down the businesses.

"We have initiated a strategic review for international markets, including the UK, where we will seek optimal solutions for our operations, including partnerships," a spokesperson added.

"Until then it is business as usual, what our customers can watch on Viaplay today will be there tomorrow too."

Viaplay says it will now focus resources on markets where it feels it "can compete for the long term" as it takes "a number of immediate decisions for the sake of the future of our business".

The SPFL and SFA are yet to comment on Viaplay's announcement.

'No immediate panic for Scottish football' - analysis
BBC Scotland sports news correspondent Chris McLaughlin

The headlines don't look good but if you scratch under the surface, there shouldn't be any immediate panic for Scottish football.

Viaplay may have bitten off more than it can chew but the Scandinavians are unlikely to pull the plug in the UK immediately.

The SPFL is publicly and privately fairly relaxed. It has received about half of the £2.5m due for the League Cup rights and is confident of getting the rest.

The Scottish Cup rights are held with IMG and sold on to Viaplay - so there's unlikely to be any financial fallout there.

Similarly, Uefa holds the rights for the international matches and any negative impact there should be minimal.

In the long term though, the Viaplay situation may well force smaller governing bodies to look for more established broadcasters.

Scottish football was burned badly in the past when the Setanta deal collapsed. Clubs have always been inclined to chase the biggest offer. Given what's happening now, they may well look for the bigger boys who can sell them some certainty.