The past several months have been a game of cat and mouse for Fox and ESPN. This year has already seen Fox beat ESPN to the UEFA Champions League TV rights in the United States, Central America and South America. Now, ESPN along with SBS have acquired the TV rights in Australia to the Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup
According to The Australian, it’s not known whether Fox tendered a bid for the Australian rights. But whether they did or not, ESPN’s coup — alongside SBS — sends a strong message to Fox that the Bristol, Connecticut-based company means business.
While the Premier League TV rights in the United Kingdom were won by Sky Sports and Setanta for seasons 2010-2013, the TV rights for the United States, Australia and other countries around the globe have yet to be finalized. The next few months will determine whether ESPN is a player in the soccer landscape or not.
“The joint broadcast deal with SBS sees the US-based subscription channel hold exclusive first rights to games, while no one game will be broadcast concurrently on SBS and ESPN, as has happened this year,” reports The Australian.
SBS will broadcast a live game each match day and double-header matches during AEST on its primary, SBS One, platform with complimentary coverage on SBS Two.
SBS will share the broadcast rights with ESPN, and will collaborate to provide viewers with a greater choice in the pre-finals match weeks, by not broadcasting the same match as the pay-tv network simultaneously.