LIVE television coverage of a trophy competed for by clubs in the Scottish Football League has been secured by the Gaelic language channel, BBC ALBA.
The three-year deal providing exclusive coverage of the Ramsdens Challenge Cup follows a more informal relationship between the competition organisers, the Scottish Football League, and the TV channel stretching back four years.
However, the recent appearance of the newco. Rangers FC in the SFL’s Third Division has meant a more formal deal having to be tied up. This new one involves between three and four matches covered live and in full per season.
The channel’s coverage of this season’s competition begins this Sunday, when Rangers make the trip to Glebe Park to take on Brechin City. The programme will begin at 3pm, with the match starting at 3.05pm.
In a media statement, Alan Esslemont, BBC ALBA’s head of content, is quoted, as saying: “We are delighted with the new deal to provide exclusive Challenge Cup coverage for the next three years. The agreement gives both BBC ALBA and the SFL the chance to showcase the best action from teams across Scotland to as wide an audience as possible and hopefully this will assist the game in its efforts to grow its fan base even further in the coming years.
“BBC ALBA provides a broad range of Scottish and international programming to viewers and our commitment to Scottish sport is an important part of our schedules.
“Our coverage of SFL football over the last four years has already been extremely popular with viewers so we are pleased with the opportunity to continue that partnership.”
BBC ALBA provides a premier sports package in association with mneTV, covering Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League competition fixtures, PRO12 rugby and shinty.
It can viewed on Freeview 8 (Scotland only), Virgin Media 188 (Scotland only), Sky 168 (UK) and Freesat 110 (UK).
It is also live on BBC iPlayer (UK) with ten hours of content per week also available to view on demand via the BBC PC iPlayer and the BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media.