Setanta Sports has upped its multimillion-pound gamble to take on the dominant Sky Sports by paying a record £125m for the rights to the Scottish Premier League.
The new four-year deal is the largest in Scottish football history and will go through to 2014.
It is more than double the £54m Setanta paid for its current contract, which ends in 2010.
The broadcaster, which is backed by Goldman Sachs and Balderton Capital, has been on an aggressive rights acquisition war path in its bid to woo more viewers in the competitive pay TV sports market.
Other deals include £394m over three years for the Barclays Premier League; £150m over four years for FA Cup and England international friendly matches as part of a partnership with ITV; and UEFA Cup rights.
“It’s all part of its plan to diversify its portfolio because it’s uncertain whether the Barclays Premier League deal will be renewed,” said Tim Westcott, senior TV analyst at media research firm Screen Digest.
He added that the group was starting to challenge Sky’s dominance in the market. Trevor East, Setanta’s director of sport said: “This is a massive deal for us….Scottish football has been undervalued for many years.” East says he sees Setanta “sitting alongside” Sky rather than rivalling it.