Celtic Must Share Lucrative TV Rights with Rivals
Byline: ROGER HANNAH
CELTIC'S SPL rivals will receive an unlikely financial kickback from lucrative broadcasting deals linked to Shunsuke Nakamura, Du Wei and the Parkhead Poles.
Sportsmail understands that broadcasting giant TWI - which has an agreement to sell SPL broadcast rights overseas - is on the brink of concluding a six-figure deal to beam Celtic matches to China.
Similar contracts are already in place for Japanese and Polish audiences to monitor the progress of Namakura, Artur Boruc and Maciej Zurawski.
Parkhead chief executive Peter Lawwell has hailed the signings of Nakamura and Du Wei as crucial in exposing the Celtic 'brand' to new markets.
However, it has emerged that SPL 'collective bargaining' agreements ensure Celtic will land no more than 17 per cent of the income from live broadcast rights.
The remaining 83 per cent will be divided among the other 11 clubs and, if Gordon Strachan fails to land the title, the 2005-06 champions will actually gain a greater portion of the television cash than Celtic themselves.
The revelation will be a surprise to Celtic fans, who believed the club had hit a mini-klondyke by selling live coverage of their games to foreign fans.
SPL rules only permit the Tennent's Scottish Cup holders to retain all the income from internet and new media operations, such as website hits and delayed transmission of games on the club's in-house TV channel.
'We struck a deal with TWI at the start of the 2004-05 season,' confirmed a SPL spokesman.'They have exclusive rights to build live packages for overseas audiences. They have a deal with ESPN for Japan and one with Polesat for Poland. I believe the deal for China is being negotiated with a firm called Goal TV.
'All the money comes into the general SPL "pot". All the earnings from sponsorship and broadcasting deals is divided among all 12 clubs.
'The first 48 per cent is split equally, with each club taking four percent. The remaining 52 per cent is divided on a sliding scale of "merit" payments. …