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Al Jazeera Sports Network Wins US TV Rights to La Liga, Says Source

al jazeera sports network la liga Al Jazeera Sports Network Wins US TV Rights to La Liga, Says Source

La Liga Talk is reporting that Al Jazeera Sports Network has won the US TV rights to La Liga, beginning with the 2012-13 season, according to a source.

The shocking news means that GolTV’s flagship league will no longer be shown on the Miami-based network. Al Jazeera Sports Network’s acquisition of La Liga rights comes hot on the heels of similar acquisitions by Al Jazeera Sports Network worldwide including winning the bid to show Ligue 1 in France from 2012-13 through 2018-18, as well as the rights to show UEFA Champions League in France from 2012-2015.

The news of Al Jazeera Sports Network winning the rights will send shockwaves through the media networks in the United States and United Kingdom. The head of ESPN EMEA has already gone on record by saying that Al Jazeera could be a force to be reckoned with:

“We’re expecting another Premier League auction in April or May. An Al Jazeera bid is a realistic prospect.”

Whether Al Jazeera would also consider bidding for the US TV rights to the Premier League is unknown at this time, but it could create a bidding frenzy.

Question marks remain over the strategy for Al Jazeera Sports Network in the United States. For example, whether they’ll offer a separate English-language sports channel or provide an English-language audio feed in the United States and Canada.

Representatives from GolTV and Al Jazeera Sports Network were unable to be reached for immediate comment.

More details about the announcement can be found on sister site La Liga Talk.

This entry was posted in GolTV, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

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 →

105 Responses to Al Jazeera Sports Network Wins US TV Rights to La Liga, Says Source

  1. jack says:

    Is there an Al Jazeera channel in the US? I’ve never seen one

    • The Gaffer says:

      La Liga Talk has more details, but it’s currently on DISH Network in HD, in Arabic.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Josh says:

      This Is Bad For Americans =(…they are making us pick between Football & WORLD FOOTBALL..dish does not carry Nfl sunday ticket which is more crucial to americans ..our football or the other…i HATE the fact that this is the same name AL-JAZZEERA .

  2. funkyb says:

    there’s an Al Jazeera Sports Network in the US? where is this even available?

  3. olivert says:

    The new channel has already acquired 3 soccer products for the U.S. market:

    La Liga

    Ligue 1

    CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers via tape-delay (live rights to matches with value will probably remain pay-per-view)

  4. jack says:

    Yo, they need to get on Dish Network.

  5. PaulFromMiami says:

    I really hoped ESPN had won it.

  6. Jared says:

    It’s official, the ********** have won. We can’t even get La Liga in English.

    Seriously, will we see Phil Schoen go to FSC or ESPN now? Too good to not move on.

    • jack says:

      You are a xenophobic ****. And a racist.

      You should note that Al-Jazeera are world renowned for their unbiased coverage, great commentators.

      Also note that they also do English….spoken by proper Englishmen.

      Are you really thick enough to think that they would broadcast La Liga to Americans in Arabic?????????????

      • Jared says:

        No, I think they will broadcast it in Spanish.

        It was a joke. Get over it.

      • Jared says:

        It was meant as a a dig at the way many Americans will view this acquisition as many in America view Al Jazeera as the network that gets all of the tapes showing atrocities against Americans.

        The article itself states that it might not be in English.

    • San Franciscan says:

      Not only you are a racist but an idiot as well. Al Jazeera sports is one of the best sports network around the world. They always get the BIG names and mind you Gary Lineker is their host for Champions League Football.

      Gaffer please delete this idiot’s post.

    • olivert says:

      More likely for Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson to be working for Al Jazeera than for either one to leave Miami.

  7. olivert says:

    Expect Al Jazeera to offer a new Spanish-language sports network in the Americas (separate from the Arabic-language global sports network), as well as a French-language sports network in Quebec/Canada (pending CRTC approval) and possibly the U.S.

    Will the Spanish-language version of Al Jazeera Sports USA also have English-language audio? That’s the big question right now.

  8. Ussoccerfan says:

    Umm he’s not racist. The post itself says they may not broadcast in english:

    “Question marks remain over the strategy for Al Jazeera Sports Network in the United States. For example, whether they’ll offer a separate English-language sports channel or provide an English-language audio feed in the United States and Canada.”

    And quite frankly not good for the brand of the leaguein the US in terms of Expaning viewership in the USA it’s not a good idea. sometimes lots of money up front means less money in the long term. Te fact there is a question about language (since its not in English now) and access I is limited is bad.

    Look like EPL will dominate the US for a long time to come.

  9. thesharad96 says:

    Somebody should broadcast all the PL games by the way

    • The Gaffer says:

      FOX Soccer + FOX Soccer 2GO + ESPN2 + ESPN3.com combined broadcast all of the Premier League games live each season.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  10. Simon says:

    sorry i have to say this F##k unless you have dish you are done. this is a step back for football in the USA we have one of the top leagus in the world and unless you have dish you cant watch it.

  11. digger says:

    Well Real Madrid and Barcelona just lost their American fanbase. LOL Qataris f**king American soccer once again.

  12. CTBlues says:

    The fact that there is a possibility of no English audio is a complete joke and should have been a requirement to purchase the rights in a country where the majority speak ENGLISH.

    • olivert says:

      Do not automatically assume that the new sports channel will carry the Al Jazeera brand.

      I would not be surprised if Al Jazeera were to buy an existing channel in order to acquire its existing subscribers prior to the start of next La Liga season in August. That particular existing channel should not be a mystery to anyone.

      Hmmm…

      La nueva ———- esta aqui. Tu canal del futbol.

  13. Mark says:

    Talk about shunning your American fanbase. What a joke, La Liga.

  14. jack says:

    Al Jazeera already broadcast La Liga in English. They are one of the richest companies in the world and are planning to outbid Sky Sports for EPL rights in England.

    If they know what they’re doing (and I’m sure they do) they will broadcast in English. Most Spanish speakers in the states speak English…………not the other way around.

    Honestly, even if it was in Spanish, which I doubt, I wouldn’t care because I don’t need a commentator’s opinion to instruct me on what I am watching. And besides, where is the commentator in an actual match?

    • olivert says:

      Al Jazeera Sports in English is currently available only in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

      There is no guarantee that the Spanish-language sports TV network targeting the Americas that will be operated under Al Jazeera ownership will have English-language audio.

      Furthermore, do NOT assume that the Spanish-language sports TV network will have the Al Jazeera brand.

  15. lh59 says:

    Do you guys not get the negativity that surrounds an Arabic named channel or anything Arabic in the United States?

    • jack says:

      Yanks will always be ignorant…but those that actually want to watch football won’t give a **** what their channel is called

      • lh59 says:

        No you don’t get it. In the USA Al Jazeera is basically known as the channel terrorists use to send those beheading videos of American reporters and soldiers. They are basically guilty by association with the terrorists.

        • olivert says:

          But the (Spanish-language) sports channel where La Liga will air in the U.S. next season does NOT necessarily have to have the Al Jazeera brand.

          You guys are running around like headless chickens.

          Please think before you post.

  16. RBP says:

    As long as I still have access to all the above I couldn’t possibly care less who airs it.

    • Vijay says:

      As much as I don’t want to agree with an Everton supporter, I do. :)

      No matter who it is – my concern though is English. While I’m not needing them to tell me everything going on, a good commentator adds flavor and color to the experience and I don’t want to fight through the Spanish because I can’t speak it! Also, as a dude with kids, keeping the volume up keeps their volume low – and that’s good as well!

  17. Esteban says:

    I sure hope they somehow make whatever channel they show this on available to Directv subscribers. I’m sure Directv is more popular than Dish is.

    Maybe they’ll just buy GolTV, which does a great job by the way but it would be cool to have a channel where we can all the games.

    I hope most of us non-Dish subscribers aren’t stuck streaming games.

  18. ssssss says:

    Qatar owns everything around me
    cream
    get the money
    dollar dollar bill yall

  19. fero says:

    Will they be streaming the games on the internet? I don’t know if they offer that seervice for other sports.

    • Forrest says:

      That is what I want to know. How will this affect the La Liga games that ESPN3 has been streaming?

      • The Gaffer says:

        Unless Al Jazeera does a deal with ESPN to sublicense some La Liga games, no La Liga games will be shown on ESPN3 from next season moving forward until the next rights auction (in a few years).

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

  20. Derrick says:

    Hopefully this means the end of Ray Hudson’s commentating, his verbal gyrations for action near the goal, and his constant professing of his man-love for Lionel.

  21. DMC says:

    Pretty sure Al Jazeera will sublicense the spanish rights to ESPNDeportes, latinos will not pay to get Al Jazeera sports channel just to wacth La Liga, also we dont know the deatils of the contract, maybe they just bought the arabic rights?

    • The Gaffer says:

      From what I understand, they bought the complete package — which is English and Spanish-language rights across TV and the Internet.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  22. dominjon says:

    They didn’t spend all that money to broadcast in Arabic on one obscure station. They paid the money because they think they can make money, which means they have a plan to get the matches into as many houses as possible.
    So don’t panic until the full details are known.

  23. DMC says:

    if that is case Al Jazeera has a lot work to do, because they only have 4 months to be distributed in all cable and satellite systems, Al Jazeera has been trying for years to be distributed but with no luck, and I don’t think just because they have La Liga would be easier for them to convince the cable companies. also if you have Dish you have access to the channel but you need to have the arabic package.
    that’s why i think they will sublicense some of the rights.

    • olivert says:

      More likely for Al Jazeera to buy an existing channel than to monkey around with sublicensing deals.

      $150 million (including the assumption of debt) should be sufficient to buy out an existing U.S. sports TV network with Spanish-language audio.

  24. Efrain says:

    This sucks.

  25. Guy says:

    Everyone needs to relax and wait for the other shoe to drop. Al Jazeera is not some rinky-dink company working out of someone’s basement. They have mountains of money and are interested in making more.That means they will want the broadest possible distribution of any rights they purchase. Something along the lines of olivert’s suggestion makes the most sense, but we’ll see.

  26. Paul says:

    It’s been speculated here in the UK for some time that Al Jazeera could make a move for Premier League rights to rival the dominant Sky Sports. After their shock moves in France and now this in the US, it adds serious weight to the case that they could come in and shake things up over here too!

    • olivert says:

      Much more likely for Al Jazeera to replace ESPN UK as the rightsholder for those 23 EPL matches than for Al Jazeera to challenge BSkyB in the UK.

      The “Al Jazeera” brand carries very negative stigma in the English-speaking world. If Al Jazeera were to enter the UK market, it will not use the “Al Jazeera” brand.

      The UK market is not high priority for ESPN, Inc.

  27. Paul says:

    The 23 games ESPN currently have will be a very small thing during the next round of bidding as the likelihood is for the league to increase the TV quota in response to the recent court case regarding 3pm games being shown in pubs. If there are more matches available it naturally means there will be more to bid for. Al Jazeera has the means and capability to challenge Sky for rights if it chooses to do so.

    Also, your comments regarding the Al Jazeera brand… If this were the case then they would not feature any ‘Al Jazeera’ branded channels ‘in the English speaking world’ as you state. We have the Al Jazeera news channel on the Sky platform here in the UK. If this mentality was factual then that would not carry that name and would instead have launched under an alias.

    The UK market is a high priority for ESPN – evident straight away in them coming in for live Premier League rights after the demise of Setanta. If this country isn’t a high priority then ESPN have a very funny way of going about showing that by acquiring Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Eredevisie, rugby and various other live sporting rights for the UK market.

    • Bugz says:

      In the United States a channel named Al Jazeera would not fly. There is a huge anti-arabic sentiment in the United States for very obvious reasons.

    • olivert says:

      If the UK market were high priority for ESPN, Inc., ESPN would not have replaced Georgie Bingham (well-known British sports TV presenter) with Michael Kim (Korean-American presenter with practically no name recognition) as presenter of SportsCenter (EMEA).

      ESPN, Inc.’s highest priorities are SportsCenter (US) and US college sports (for the US market). Those are the only properties that make money consistently for the company.

      • olivert says:

        Furthermore, the only professional sports event product that ESPN, Inc. values on a worldwide basis is NFL Monday Night Football. In every country where an ESPN-branded network exists, (with the exception of ESPN Classic Europe,) that network has NFL Monday Night Football.

        Bundesliga, Eredivisie, and Serie A are filler event products on ESPN UK.

        ESPN UK’s EPL and FA Cup packages are all 2nd rate. BSkyB has the 1st pick of EPL matches, while ITV1 has the 1st pick of FA Cup matches.

        • Paul says:

          Over here NFL isn’t big news. It’s shown live on ESPN, yes, but only in small amounts. The majority of live NFL is shown on Sky Sports.

          Bundesliga etc was bought to pad out their channel in between live Premier League coverage as that’s why most people over here (myself included) subscribe to the channel – for the live PL games not broadcast by Sky.

          ESPN has 2nd pick of FA Cup matches because 1st pick is retained for terrestrial’s ITV1 – free to air to ensure that everybody can see it, as opposed to ESPN being behind a pay wall. ESPN’s Premier League coverage is just 23 games at present because Sky over inflated the value of the packages in order to retain them after the European intervention over their monopoly. ESPN have stated in the past that they’re in the UK market for the long haul and hope to increase their standing by getting more Premier League games.

      • Paul says:

        For the record, Georgie Bingham is not a well known British sports TV presenter. She may (or may not) be known elsewhere in the world (?!) but I can categorically say that she is not well known in the UK!

        In the US I have no doubt that SportsCenter and US college sports make consistent money for ESPN. In the UK they’re worth zero. The money maker over here is Premier League football which is why they stepped in and based their portfolio around those football rights. If they lose Premier League, they fold over here because it’s the crown jewel of sports TV rights.

        • olivert says:

          Bingham was a presenter on Sky Sports News before she left to present SportsCenter (EMEA).

          After ESPN cancelled the first attempt at SportsCenter (EMEA), Bingham returned to London to work as a presenter for Premier League Network, which is available 24/7 in the Middle East and Northern Africa via Abu Dhabi Media Company’s AD Sports 5 HD channel.

          Michael Kim was a presenter for ESPNEWS (U.S.), which has very low viewership even in the U.S. (less than 0.1% during prime time,) before he was selected as the face of the 2nd attempt at SportsCenter (EMEA).

          Again, if the UK were of high priority for ESPN, Inc on a worldwide basis (excluding Asia, where NewsCorp manages the ESPN brand), ESPN, Inc. would have hired a British presenter as the face of SportsCenter (EMEA) instead of moving over a Korean-American to the position.

          • Paul says:

            I know who she is, I’ve watched SSN since day 1, the point I was making is that she’s not a well known sports presenter here in the UK! Just because you’ve had a job on SSN doesn’t automatically propel you into the big league. You say she went to work for a Middle Eastern/African media company… would explain why the name is not regarded remotely here in the UK. I’m sure people in the Middle East would associate her with sports a bit more but in the UK, apart from avid SSN viewers, she isn’t known at all.

            Instead of using poor examples of of SportsCenter presenters, try looking at their Premier League team they started to compile after winning live rights – both studio and commentators – it’s a pretty decent team considering they currently have such a small amount of games.

            Why do you keep referring to SportsCenter as being the all of ESPN here in the UK? I’m a UK subscriber and I’ve never once watched it. I watch Sky Sports News for that stuff and ESPN at 5.30pm on a Saturday when they have a live Premier League game on. I think you’ll struggle to find many people who stray from that same formula. I only really know what SportsCenter is after Googling it. It just means nothing over here.

          • olivert says:

            Premier League Network is not a middle-eastern media company. It is operated by Premier League Productions, which is a joint venture between the Premier League and IMG Sports Media.

            IMG Sports Media produces all video for the Premier League matches that kick off on Saturdays at 1500 London Time.

            IMG Sports Media also produces all UK-based live event and studio programming for ESPN UK.

            (IMG Sports Media was formerly known as Trans World International. Among TWI’s products include Futbol Mundial)

          • Paul says:

            So you’re just referring to the international feed. Same as Viasat PL HD and other channels. I’m fully aware of the job IMG / PLP does, I don’t need that explaining to me thanks.

          • Paul says:

            It also makes clear as to why your thinking of this presenter as being a big British sports presenter means nothing here. We’re the only country in the world that doesn’t have access to the international feed live programmes. All of our programming is delivered to us courtesy of the host broadcasters. The only time we get anything from the live international feed is hearing the English commentary feed on the delayed 3pm games courtesy of the Football First interactive games on Saturday nights.

            • The Gaffer says:

              I think Georgie Bingham is more well known in the US than in the UK primarily because of her short stint as a presenter on ESPN in the United States.

              Cheers,
              The Gaffer

          • olivert says:

            Besides the international feeds for the Premier League matches, Premier League Productions offers the Premier League Network in English, with news and shoulder programming around the clock (24/7) to supplement the match telecasts.

            The lead presenter for the Premier League Network is John Dykes, who was the lead presenter of football on the English-language networks of ESPN STAR Sports in Asia (based in Singapore, managed by News Corporation Limited’s STAR TV unit) before the Premier League hired him. Dykes is now based in London.

            Bingham is one of the other presenters on the Premier League Network.

            Abu Dhabi Media Company was the first company in the world to offer the Premier League Network to its subscribers in the Middle East and Northern Africa, on AD Sports 5 HD.

          • Paul says:

            Yes olivert they do offer programming such as Premier League Review and Preview shows etc… I wasn’t referring to those, I was simply referring to live studio based programming offered to all international broadcasters on match days – at which point we have live programming courtesy of Sky or ESPN.

          • olivert says:

            Bingham was known in the U.S. for her work on Sky Sports News UK, which is available on FOX Soccer U.S. (formerly FOX Soccer Channel and FOX Sports World U.S.)

            Bingham appeared on ESPN2 U.S. only once, when ESPN2 U.S. took SportsCenter EMEA after the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final to fill 6 minutes of time. Bingham and Australian presenter Jason Dasey anchored that show. (Dasey presented CNN International World Sport from Atlanta and ESPN SportsCenter Asia from Singapore before moving to Connecticut. to anchor ESPN SportsCenter Australia and ESPN SportsCenter EMEA.)

            Bingham did fill in occasionally as presenter on ESPNEWS U.S. when she was based in Connecticut.

            .

            • The Gaffer says:

              I think she appeared a few times on the early renditions of the Saturday morning broadcasts of the Premier League on ESPN.

              Cheers,
              The Gaffer

          • olivert says:

            Bingham had left Connecticut (1st attempt at SportsCenter EMEA was cancelled in May 2009, as I recall.) before ESPN2 U.S. sublicensed the Premier League telecasts in August 2009.

            Rebecca Lowe was the studio presenter for one ESPN2 (U.S.) Premier League telecast, the first one called by Ian Darke and Stewart Robson from the stadium. Lowe and Steve McManaman were in the studio at IMG House in London.

  28. Paul says:

    You really haven’t just stated that in public, surely?! Yes your country was the unfortunate victim of a major terrorist attack in 2001 but we, here in the UK, also fell victim to terrorist attacks in 2005 but there is no prejudice to people of Arabic descent because you can’t tarnish everybody with the same brush just because of where they’re born and how they look!

    I’m not sure whether or not you know the history of Al Jazeera but it actually provides a very well respected news service that airs things other channels are afraid to. Have a look at their news website, you’ll find things other outlets pass over for various reasons. In all honesty I’d be more concerned about having access to the Fox News channel!

    The Al Jazeera sport channels in the Middle East are second to none. Their coverage is superb and features a lot of high quality pundits and reporters. The main host of our Match of the Day programme, Gary Lineker, is Al Jazeera’s host of Champions League for example. Don’t tarnish them just because they’re Arabic… they have decided to make a presence for themselves in the world regarding live sport on TV so you best get used to it. There’s an upcoming Premier League bidding process so I dread to see your reaction should they outbid Fox on that.

    • olivert says:

      Al Jazeera has a high-quality English-language sports channel, but only for the Middle East and Northern Africa.

      The new sports channel for the U.S. market will be in Spanish, with no guarantee that Al Jazeera will also offer English-language audio.

    • Bugz says:

      You can not compare 2 of the most recognizable buildings collapsing in our largest city in the country and another crashing into the Pentagon to a subway bomb. There was plans for a Mosque to be built near the site of former twin towers but the uproar against it throughout the whole country stopped it. The negative stigma of anything Arabic is not something you can just get over quickly. Thousands of people died in those tragedies and even more when we went into 2 wars in the Middle East.

  29. Earl Reed says:

    As long as it’s a medium-to-high quality English speaking broadcast without a bunch of religious propaganda, I would watch an Al-Jazeera Sports Network. It’s actually a very smart strategy, given the hard feelings garnered about Qatar 2022. They want to convince the less-tolerant areas around the globe that they are fit to be a part of the landscape. So I can’t blame them. As long as there is no religious propaganda, so be it.

    • Paul says:

      Somebody who understands. Qatar 2022 is a very large reason why they’re making such a worldwide sporting, and in particular football, presence. One thing I will say is that it has nothing to do with religious propaganda… please do some research on Al Jazeera first before making such sweeping statements.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Al Jazeera is known for it’s unbiased news coverage. I haven’t watched the channel personally but their news coverage, so I’ve heard, rivals the BBC in fairness. They’re critical of Arab leaders as well as western governments, when necessary.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • TAT says:

        Just like how RT isn’t biased huh? BBC is biased as well.

        • The Gaffer says:

          Who is RT?

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

        • Paul says:

          TAT – it’s very interesting that you claim the BBC is biased. I’ve never got that from watching any of the domestic BBC channels here in the UK. It’s a public funded service, paid for by a TV licence which is paid for by all UK citizens who own a TV and it has a Royal Charter. It has a duty to remain impartial. Out of interest, why do you personally think it’s biased?

  30. Evan says:

    Not able to watch La Liga as it stands so I don’t care much.
    I’m interested to see what will happen though.

    I think we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.

  31. olivert says:

    Al Jazeera will need to spend around $100 million to build its own Spanish-language sports TV network in the Americas.

    Current La Liga U.S. rightsholder GOLTV U.S.(which has both English and Spanish audio, but 90% of the advertisements are in Spanish) is only worth around $150 million to $200 million assuming that GOLTV U.S. were able to hold onto the 9 million English-language sports tier subscribers (out of 13 million total subscribers, each of whom pay about $0.15/month.)

    Any time a TV network in the U.S. loses a sports event property, pay TV providers generally have the right to open the carriage contracts for review.

    If GOLTV U.S. were to lose all 9 million English-language sports tier subscribers and be left with 4 million Spnaish-language basic tier subscribers, the value of GOLTV U.S. will plummet to less than $50 million.

    (In the U.S., most pay sports TV channels are bundled in various tiers instead of being sold a la carte as in the U.K.)

    GOLTV’s other event properties in the U.S. market for the next contract cycle are:

    1. German Bundesliga (renewed with DFL Sports Enterprises through May 2015) – 34 rounds of 4 to 5 matches each plus the German Supercup, but 2 matches from each round have been sublicensed to ESPN, Inc. The only Bundesliga brand with significant value in the U.S., Bayern Munich, will appear on GOLTV approximately once every two weeks from early August though the middle of December and from the middle of January through May. Rights in English and Spanish cover all platforms (TV, Internet, mobile.)

    2. Brazilian National Championship and Sao Paulo State Championship package from Globo TV Sports (renewed through December 2015) – Up to 2 matches each round for 80 rounds (including 4 rounds of Sao Paulo State playoffs) plus the Sao Paulo State Final match, but 1 match from each round has been
    sublicensed to ESPN, Inc. Rights for TV only in English and Spanish. No Internet or mobile rights.

    3. Argentine League matches featuring Boca Juniors and River Plate (through June 2014) – 76 matches each season (August – June). Rights in English and Spanish cover all platforms (TV, Internet, mobile.)

    4. 48-hour tape-delayed TV rights to selected CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers NOT involving Mexico or US national teams (through October 2013; via agreement with Integrated Sports in conjunction with Traffic Sports USA, in exchange for providing production services for live pay-per-view telecasts marketed by Integrated Sports.)

    ===

    This may be one of the few cases where Al Jazeera may be better off buying an existing U.S. sports TV network with Spanish-language audio (such as GOLTV U.S.) instead of building its own Spanish-language sports TV network from scratch.

    Distribution is Al Jazeera’s biggest hurdle. By the time Al Jazeera were able to sign up 5 million subscribers on its own, the rights contact for La Liga will be over.

    (Example: ESPN Deportes did not gain distribution on most systems until the 3rd year of operation. After 8 years of operation, ESPN Deportes only has 6 million subscribers.)

    • DMC says:

      What if Gol TV does not want to sell?

      • Paul says:

        They don’t necessarily have to buy out the company completely. They still don’t have a media outlet in France for their domestic Ligue 1 and Champions League matches but they’ve been in talks with French operator Orange Sport about buying a stake in their channels. That way everybody gets a piece of the action and not just Al Jazeera exclusively so it’s win win.

      • olivert says:

        GOLTV U.S. has been “in play” since 2007.

        For the right price, GOLTV U.S. will sell.

        By selling to Al Jazeera now, GOLTV U.S. can avoid a review of its pay TV carriage contracts and the potential loss of nearly 75% of its subscribers. La Liga will stay on GOLTV U.S. and Al Jazeera will instantly have control of 13 million subscribers (over 9 million in English-language sports tiers, about 4 million in Spanish-language basic tiers) without having to go through the slow and painful process of negotiating new carriage agreements.

        Remember that ESPN Deportes, a Spanish-language sports network in the U.S. with backing from ESPN, Inc. and its corporate parent Walt Disney Company, only has 6 million subscribers after 8 years of operation.

  32. Efrain says:

    Olivert, wow, you sure know a lot about this stuff. Looks like you may be in the business. Thanks for your input and thoughts of how things may be handled.

    Off topic, but since you know so much about this…… do you know why GOLTv chooses to give ESPN most of the Barcelona home games and keep Barca’s away games? Just curious.

  33. IanCransonsKnees says:

    The sheer ignorance on this thread is breathtaking. No worries who takes over coverage here it’ll still get shown so why all the fuss?

  34. olivert says:

    It should be clear to everyone by now that the Qataris want to launch new sports TV networks (under a new brand instead of Al Jazeera) to promote the major European club football brands the Qataris control.

    The Qataris currently control 2 major European club football brands:

    1. Paris St. Germain – full ownership

    2. FC Barcelona – Qatar Foundation is the ONLY shirt sponsor in the history of the club

    ======

    The major Italian clubs are not available to the Qataris at this time. Roma was bought recently by an American investor. The Big 3 (AC Milan, Inter, Juventus) have very stable ownership and major sponsors so they are NOT for sale at any price.

    NewsCorp (FOX Sports) appeared to have locked down the rights to Serie A in the Americas for the next cycle (except in Canada, where FOX no longer has any minority ownership interest in sports networks.) The U.S. rights have not been announced yet, but FOX knocked out ESPN in Spanish-speaking Latin America and Brazil.

    The Qataris haven’t made a move in England yet.

    As for all the British reports suggesting that Al Jazeera might bid against BSkyB for EPL rights in the UK: I continue to believe that ESPN UK, not BSkyB, is the one that Al Jazeera is more likely to displace if Al Jazeera were to enter that market.

    Don’t forget about Abu Dhabi, which made a massive overbid ($300 million/season) for EPL rights in the Middle East/Northern Africa a few years ago. Abu Dhabi is basically bankrolling the Premier League Network, which is relayed on AD Sports 5 HD.

  35. Gary says:

    Just because Al Jazeera has won the rights to La Liga doesn’t mean they won’t sell games to other networks. Fox has the right to EPL but they sell games to ESPN. Gol TV sells La Liga games to ESPN as well.
    I am sure Al Jazeera will do likewise even if they can get a channel on cable which is where they don’t have a presence right now.

    One way or another La Liga games will be available to US viewers. It’s just that we won’t know exactly where at this time.

    • joejoe says:

      I agree they will probably just sell the games to established networks. I doubt if an Al Jazeera cable channel would even be carried in most of the country.

  36. Pete says:

    Al Jazeera winning football rights? Watch out for political propaganda, I have watched their news show in the UK, It’s similar to Press TV which got booted off the air for propaganda and not following rules. As for Paul and his drivel about the BBC not being bias, I can only presume he is a Labour voter and thinks that their left wing, Euro loving nonsense is what the whole UK should be paying for, including those of us who don’t vote Labour and don’t wish to see this country turn into the equivalent of Florida in a United States of Europe
    I think Al Jazeera is within an inch of its life in the UK, you can bet someone’s getting paid to watch it 24/7 waiting for some type of serious propaganda and then it will go the same way as Press TV did, down the drain.
    I’d also bet that there is no way they will ever take SKY’s monopoly of the football rights as it would cost a fortune and SKY know that if they lose their rights then viewers will be on the phone to cancel their subscription as quick as you say AL Jazeera

  37. GQ says:

    This is truly a hit to Futbol in America. ESPN and Fox are doing a nice job raising awareness of Futbol in the US. Seems with this move we are going backwards. This cannot be true

    • D says:

      Backwards for La liga for sure, the EPLwill be fine as there are still on Fox & ESPN.
      La Liga are always number two to England in viewers anyway.

  38. Damfee says:

    Great, the women stoners are taking over my football. Fantastic. I would not touch their dark ages channel with a ten foot pole.

  39. Amed Kurdistani says:

    you guys are hopelessly misinformed. Al jazeera(the arabic network) has 12 channels, EVERY single one of them has an English audio feed for commentary. furthermore they also have TWO fully English channels. with pundits like Gary Lineker, Ruud Hullit and many more. I have an Al jazeera sub in the uk, and even though its the arabia based channels, every match has an option for english, each channel has english news 2 times a day, and two channels have all programming exclusively in english(called: aljazeera sports 1 english and al jazeera sports 2 english)

    i personally thought this was overkill for a target market that is exclusively arab, though in the gulf countries there are many english speaking people.

    Furthermore, their coverage is amazing, you have a choice of 3 different commentators on big games( if you prefer one over the other), they show almost every major league and cup in their entirety, and they were one of the only broadcasters to show the world cup in 3D

    IF aljazeera were to simply offer what they do in the middle east to the western countries, then i assure you it was be adequate, of course they wont, they will do much more. so please do some research before posting such nonsense.

    with kind regards

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