Friday, August 20, 2010

After the demise of Setanta Sports in the UK, non league football found itself without a home on television, which was a crying shame as the Blue Square Premier has been one of the most exciting leagues in England in recent seasons.

This season should be no exception, so it's great news that the Conference has completed a broadcast deal yesterday with Premier Sports TV to see the Blue Square Bet Premier back on our tv screens soon.

The deal will see 30 live games each season exclusively broadcast on the channel, including the playoffs and playoff final. The action will kick off on September 4th when Grimsby take on Luton, followed by the all Welsh affair between Newport County and Wrexham the following afternoon.

At present, Premier Sports TV is only available through Sky, with a subscription rate of £6.99 per month.

The channel was formed last year by one of the part owners of Setanta and a number of sports previously shown by the Irish channel, and not picked up in the UK by other broadcasters such as gaelic football, hurling and Aussie rugby league are currently shown on Premier Sports.

It's a good deal for the Conference and although it may not see their product aired to a huge audience, it's just great to have some top notch non league action back on our screens again.

Hopefully it's a success. It's hard to justify more money on sports channels in this current financial climate. I just hope there is enough people with an interest in non league football and the other sports that the channel shows to make it a continued success.

The deal could be a good money earner for Conference clubs, as the Conference will receive 50% of all subscriptions once a nominal level of subscribers has been achieved.

No other competition has had this style of agreement before and in addition the Conference will also earn 50% from all internet revenue associated with the deal and allow them to retain advertising rights allied to those adverts shown with their matches. This really is a "joint venture" first in football and hopefully will see other similar deals reached.

If such a deal could be reached for the Scottish Football League then that would be fantastic for all involved.

I just hope the deal doesn't mess around with my chance to see AFC Wimbledon play Lutin on November 30th, as that's a great game to potentially broadcast!

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