FOOTBALL: BBC Alba to screen live SPL games

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BBC Alba will broadcast live Scottish Premier League games for the first time after agreeing a new two-year extension to continue covering Scottish football’s top flight.

For both this season and 2013/14, the corporation’s Gaelic TV service will show three live SPL matches per season, with Gaelic language commentary, starting with Ross County against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on January 2, 2013.

It will be the first time that SPL games have be shown on a free-to-view platform since 2004, when BBC Scotland held exclusive live rights.

Two further live games will be announced at a later date.

The channel will also continue screening delayed full match coverage of a further 35 games per season, which will be shown at 5.30pm on Saturdays.

BBC Alba’s live games are in addition to the 60 games that will be broadcast by Sky Sports and ESPN per season over the next five years.

Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPL, said: “I am delighted to announce a new partnership with BBC ALBA that will for the first time see Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches broadcast live with Gaelic language commentary.

“This new partnership will allow us to reach far and wide into new audiences and communities across Scotland.

“The SPL already has two live television deals in place with Sky Sports and ESPN, and we look forward to growing our relationship with BBC Alba to promote Clydesdale Bank Premier League football, and the Gaelic language, even further over the next two seasons.”

Coverage of the Scottish Premier League will continue to be produced for BBC Abla by mneTV, one of Scotland’s leading sports production companies.

In addition to its SPL coverage, BBC Alba also shows Scottish Challenge Cup games.

Alan Esslemont, Head of Content for BBC Alba, said: “BBC Alba is thrilled to continue our coverage of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with the addition of three live matches to add to our delayed full-match transmissions that have been so successful since 2008.

“The channel has received great support from the SPL since our launch and we expect this new deal to strengthen our relationship with the league.

“The Clydesdale Bank Premier League continues to be hugely popular with fans across the country and we are delighted to be able to return live Clydesdale Bank Premier League football to free-to-air television throughout Scotland and the UK for the first time since 2004.”

BBC Alba is available on Freeview (channel 8 in Scotland), Virgin Media (188), Sky (168) and Freesat (110), and online via BBC iPlayer.

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