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Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack reacts to news Premiership clubs will be able to sell ‘virtual season tickets’ for new campaign

Dave Cormack.
Dave Cormack.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack has welcomed news of a deal between the SPFL and Premiership broadcast rights holder Sky Sports to allow clubs to sell “virtual season tickets”.

With the coronavirus pandemic meaning the 2020/21 Premiership campaign will start behind closed doors, the initiative will give top-flight clubs a revenue stream from live home matches.

The SPFL are aiming to start the new campaign on August 1.

Cormack, who was part of the SFA/SPFL broadcast sub-group looking into the idea of live-streaming games and has previously vowed to give the 6,000 fans who have bought Pittodrie season tickets so far “full value”, said: “AFC welcomes the Sky deal brokered by the SPFL. Given the current circumstances we find ourselves in, it is an excellent deal and we really appreciate Sky’s constructive, partnership approach.

“From the outset our commitment to supporters has been to deliver full value for our season ticket holders. Under this deal, AFC will be able to offer virtual access to season ticket holders for all closed-door home games and will continue to work with our colleagues at fellow Premiership clubs to explore potential arrangements to show away games.

“There will be costs involved for us in implementing this broadcast deal, but, allied with the suggested timetable for getting back to football, it gives us more certainty to develop a virtual package that will offer our season ticket holders and seasonal corporate clients the exclusive opportunity to watch the team in action once again.

“Over 6,400 fans have supported the club by purchasing a season ticket, for which we thank you. While we finalise the details for a full-value package, my plea is that you continue to place your trust in me and the club by buying season tickets because, for those who can, your support is still very much needed. Our guarantee is that we will make sure your season ticket is money well spent.

“We’re really excited about getting back to training later this month with a view to closed-door games kicking off at the start of August and, while we appreciate we are operating under ever-changing circumstances, we’re preparing, and hoping, to return to Pittodrie with partial crowds from November or December and full crowds in January 2021.”

Ahead of the first season of a new five-year deal, exclusive broadcast rights holders Sky, who will show 48 games during the 2020/21 campaign, have agreed to allow each top-flight club to “sell a package to season ticket holders to watch all home games”.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “This is an innovative and pragmatic solution to the challenges posed by Covid-19 and I’m grateful for the flexibility shown by our clubs and by Sky Sports.”

Rob Webster, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports is proud of our long-standing relationship with Scottish football and we have been committed to finding a positive solution for the SPFL and clubs.

“The virtual season ticket for the 2020/21 season is an innovative way to maintain the connection with fans and provide economic stability for the clubs, and we are very happy to support it.

“The new season promises to be a unique experience for the Scottish Premiership and our approach is to be as flexible and supportive of the clubs as we can be in these unique times.”

The SPFL also announced a financial settlement with Sky for games, which were due to be beamed live but didn’t take place in the 2019/20 campaign due to the Covid-19 pandemic, would be spread over the five years of the new deal with the broadcaster.