How sad it is that we have come to the position where the fear of the possible action of BSkyB might sway the vote. Fans have had to put up with the inconvenience generated by TV schedulers for years as kick off times were moved for the convenience of the broadcaster’s audience. We resent the interference, get annoyed when the referee has to wait for a signal from the touchline before he blows the starting whistle and hate it when the authorities tell us that it is all necessary to maintain the ‘quality of the product’ on the pitch.
But all that pales into insignificance when it seems that a hint that Sky might take the huff if the Newco is not treated with kid gloves. Will the cowed chairmen admit that our clubs no longer control the game in Scotland?
Motherwell is a club that learned the lesson of over ambition and a decade ago we emerged from a period of administration with the resolve to live within our means. As a result we are in the happy position of having no debt. There will be no bank manager leaning on the shoulders of Motherwell’s directors as they come to a decision about a Newco.
The income that has arrived at Fir Park from TV and radio is listed in the club’s annual accounts and the figures in the latest financial statement show that in 2010 and 2011 sums of £1.3M and £1.9M were received. Those figures represent around 30% of total income for each season.
It is hardly credible that TV money would disappear entirely but a No vote could see some reduction. How each club could cope with a loss of income will vary but if the SPL wants to retain any reputation as a sporting organisation the decision should not be affected by the threat (real or imagined) from Sky. The prize of regaining the game is a big incentive.