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Fox, ESPN & Setanta Battle for Champions League US TV Rights

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

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.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

4 Responses to Fox, ESPN & Setanta Battle for Champions League US TV Rights

  1. Fsquid says:


    Any word on Bundesliga rights?

  2. Kartik says:

    GOL TV appears poised to keep the Bundesliga rights when it comes up for bidding this summer. The package’s performance I was told has improved dramatically from the beginning.

  3. kenny says:

    Awesome news about GolTV and La Liga

  4. fsquid says:

    Thanks Kartik. Now I just need to convince DISH to get GolTV back!

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