Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN and Setanta Sports were in heated discussions Tuesday to acquire the US TV rights to UEFA’s Champions League. The three sports networks attended SportelAmerica, an industry conference held in Miami Beach, Florida.
EPL Talk and MLS Talk were the only members of the American media at the conference.
While ESPN are the current US rights holder of the Champions League, there are no guarantees that the Disney owned network will be able to renew the rights. Just two weeks ago, Fox Sports Latin America was able to pry the Champions League TV rights away from ESPN in Latin America. For the US TV rights, Fox will undoubtedly try to pry those away from ESPN also.
An announcement is expected on Thursday.
In other news from SportelAmerica, all three of the networks are actively in pursuit of the US TV rights for the Premier League for 2010-13. The bidding should be finalized in approximately one month. The Premier League was in attendance at the conference. Expectations are that the value of the rights will increase but not significantly.
In an exclusive interview with Kartik Krishnaiyer of MLS Talk, GolTV owner Enzo Francescoli revealed that GolTV was able to renew the TV rights to La Liga, which is GolTV’s crown jewel.
Elsewhere, Setanta Sports revealed to EPL Talk that it will be relaunching and rebranding its broadband package from Setanta By Broadband to “Setanta i” (as in Setanta interactive).
For the complete interview, which also reveals the latest news about Setanta on Comcast and Time Warner Cable as well as HD news, listen to the interview on the EPL Talk Podcast on iTunes or http://epltalk.libsyn.com
Over the next 1-2 weeks, EPL Talk and MLS Talk will be releasing more interviews from the show as well as reporting on the interesting dynamics of the TV sports industry, specifically as it relates to soccer.