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04/11/13 14:21

Scottish football screened live in China for first time

Agreement kicks off ten-year, £20m international deal and will see matches broadcast to 60m.

Scottish football will be screened live in China for the first time and to an estimated 60 million people after the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) kicked off its new ten-year, £20 million international broadcast deal with a Chinese partner, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today.

The First Minister was joined in Beijing by SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster and clubs’ representative Peter Lawwell (Celtic) where the SPFL struck the new broadcast agreement with live sports online streaming provider PPLive TV.

The ground-breaking deal covers the live screening of 58 SPFL matches in China, the world’s second biggest economy and fastest growing, as part of PPLive TV’s European football offering that includes coverage of England’s Barclays Premier League and Spain’s Liga BBVA (formerly La Liga).

The agreement, which will see SPFL season 2013/14 fixtures broadcast online to 60 million PPLive TV users in China, is part of an international agreement between the SPFL and MP & Silva that is expected to generate more than £20 million for the SPFL and its member clubs over the next ten years.

The First Minister made the announcement alongside Mr Doncaster and Mr Lawwell at a Scotland innovation showcase in Beijing that demonstrated the expertise and pedigree of Scottish business, design, education and sport during his five-day trade mission to China.

The First Minister said:

“This is a hugely exciting development for Scottish football, with 58 fixtures from the Scottish Professional Football League to be screened live in China for the first time to 60 million people through PPLive.

“There is clearly a growing appetite for European football coverage in China and now football fans across this country will be able to enjoy the action from iconic Scottish footballing venues such as Easter Road, Fir Park and Pittodrie.

“There have been some tough times in Scottish football over recent years, but with news today that clubs can look forward to a £20 million boost as part of this fantastic international broadcasting deal, I am confident the fans can look forward to a bright future.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL CEO said:

“This is a brilliant result for Scottish football and the Scottish Professional Football League. This deal will showcase the Scottish game to up to 60m people across China and opens up a huge marketplace in the world’s fastest growing economy.

“We want to build on this opportunity, not only in China but across other significant global markets, and discussions with several potential partners are ongoing. We aim to significantly raise the profile and popularity of our game among global audiences, with the resultant financial spin-offs and commercial opportunities for the SPFL and our member clubs.”

Speaking on behalf of SPFL clubs, Peter Lawwell, chief executive of Celtic FC, said:

“The English Premier League experience shows that giving overseas audiences the chance to watch games week-in, week-out is the key to building an international fan base.

“Celtic FC has already played a leading role in promoting the Scottish game to global audiences, mainly through our recent participation and successes in the UEFA Champions League, and we see China as a country with enormous potential. This deal shows the ambition of the SPFL and its clubs to continue to expand the Scottish game into new worldwide territories.”

Notes to editors

The SPFL announcement was made during the First Minister’s trade mission to China, with delegations from the oil and gas and construction sectors comprising 30 companies undertaking business in the country over a five-day period. At the same time as the First Minister’s visit, six Scottish companies will also attend the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo 2013 in Dalian where they will promote their produce at a Scottish Kitchen sponsored by Seafood Scotland and Scottish Development International.

The visit helps meet the ambitions set out in the Scottish Government’s China Strategy to increase engagement with the world’s second largest economy and builds on recent business successes, including:

From 2007 to 2012 exports from Scotland to China increased by 88% from £265m to £498m.

Over the same period, the share of Scottish exports to China increased from 2 per cent to 3 per cent of all Scottish exports.

Far East markets accounted for around 2 per cent of fresh Scottish salmon exports in the years prior to 2011, when the Scottish Government secured a new import deal with China following discussions between the First Minister and then Vice Premier Li KeQiang. Since then, the proportion of global sales to the Far East has reached 19 per cent in the first half of 2013 with a value of £37m. China accounts for more than half of the value of total sales.

In the five years between 2007 and 2012, Scotch whisky exports to China rose by 70 per cent from £42.1 million to £71.5 million, helped by the granting of geographical indication of origin status for the product in China in 2010. This followed negotiations between the First Minister and the Chinese Government during his visits to China in 2009 and 2010.

The Scottish Government’s China Strategy can be read here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/12/7734

Get news of the trade visit as it happens by following @AlexSalmond and @ScotGov on Twitter. Images will be available for use from the Scottish Government flickr channel: www.flickr.com/scottishgovernment.

When available, audio can be found at www.soundcloud.com/scotgovt