The SPFL has today confirmed that blue-chip UK bookmaking company Betfred has agreed a three-year deal to become the exclusive title sponsor of the Scottish League Cup; The Betfred Cup.
The agreement represents another significant investment into Scottish football with Betfred assuming its rights ahead of the start of the 2016/17 competition this July, which involves an exciting new format and up to 13 matches shown live on BT Sport.
Betfred, established in 1967 but which has since grown to a 1,400 betting shop and vast online business, has a strong pedigree of sporting sponsorships including existing agreements with the World Snooker Championship and a number of UK racecourses.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “On behalf of the SPFL I’d like to offer a very warm welcome to everyone at Betfred as new title sponsors of The Betfred Cup and the latest major brand to support Scottish football. We’re absolutely thrilled to have them on board for what is another significant vote of confidence – and investment – in the game.
“The exciting new format for next season’s Betfred Cup has truly captured the imagination of supporters, clubs and media, as well as our broadcast partner BT Sport and now Betfred. By building on our strong points and proud heritage as well as daring to be a little bit different we have shown Scottish football’s enduring popularity and growing reputation for innovation.
“We know Betfred share in our ambitious vision and we are really looking forward to working with them to bring this proud and popular competition to life for the benefit of Scottish football supporters across the country.”
Betfred chief executive John Haddock added: “We are very pleased to become sponsors of the Scottish League Cup at the inception of its new and exciting format. The SPFL have shown us great enthusiasm and we look forward to a continued and successful relationship.”
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “BT Sport is looking forward to deepening its connection with Scottish football through our exclusively live coverage of the competition from mid-July. BT Sport is going to be the place to head to for Scottish football fans seeking live football this summer.”
Earlier this season The SPFL announced an exciting new format for The Betfred Cup including competitive group football in July, a ground-breaking bonus point system, a new broadcast partner bringing more live TV games and increased revenues for clubs, as well as the re-introduction of a winter break for Premiership clubs.
Taking effect from July 2016, the new format will see eight groups of five teams play each other once each in a round-robin format across five July dates (16th, 20th, 23th, 27th & 30th). This new 80-game group stage will involve all 38 teams not involved in UEFA qualifiers plus winners of this season’s Highland League and Lowland League.
The group stage uses the traditional three points for a win and one point for a draw model however in another innovation all drawn matches will go straight to a penalty shoot-out whereby the winner of the penalty shoot-out will be awarded a bonus point. The bonus point system is designed to create greater excitement around every match as well as providing more points variations to increase the number of meaningful games throughout the group stages. The eight group winners and four best runners-up progress to the second round, when they are joined by the four UEFA qualifying clubs and the competition reverts to traditional knockout format.
At the same time The SPFL also announced BT Sport as the exclusive live TV broadcaster of The Betfred Cup from summer 2016. BT Sport will screen up to six games from the Group Stage in July and up to a further seven games from the knockout rounds for each of Seasons 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20. BT Sport’s new contract will increase the money available for all the clubs significantly. Another benefit of the new format will be that it allows the re-introduction of a two-weekend winter break for Premiership clubs during January 2017.