Al Jazeera Sports Network ‘Ready to Spend and Spend Big’ For Soccer TV Rights In US, Says Source

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

This means that Al Jazeera Sports Network US has picked up TV rights for Serie A and La Liga beginning next season. It’s also understood that Al Jazeera has picked up rights to Ligue Un. FOX Soccer currently owns the US rights to Serie A, and will continue to broadcast Serie A games for the remainder of the season with commentators Christian Miles and Christopher Sullivan. When reached for a reaction to the news, a FOX Soccer spokesperson said “no comment.”

More details regarding the news can be found at Serie A Talk. However, the news is starting to send shockwaves through the US soccer community as fans begin to question what Al Jazeera’s plans are, where the games will be broadcast, and whether Al Jazeera plans on aggressively trying to acquire additional TV rights this year. According to a source, Al Jazeera Sports Network is “ready to spend, and spend big.”

Don’t forget that US TV rights for the Premier League for seasons 2013-2016 will be sold this year. FOX Soccer currently owns the rights, and sub-licenses select games to ESPN in the United States. If Al Jazeera Sports Network, which is owned by the Qatar royal family and has considerable riches, gets involved in the bidding, it’s quite conceivable that the bidding may skyrocket. Plus, Al Jazeera is rumored to be interested in bidding for the UK TV rights to Premier League coverage.

Al Jazeera Sports Network currently has a HD channel that airs in Arabic on DISH Network. With La Liga, Serie A and Ligue Un games often playing at similar times, Al Jazeera has several options to contemplate of how to broadcast games live. What their plans are, we don’t know as of yet, and until we find out more details, everything is up in the air. What we do know is that Al Jazeera has approximately six months to find a solution.

One option could be for Al Jazeera to acquire GolTV, which already has distribution on most major TV providers in the United States with Spanish and English channels. When reached for comment regarding rumors of a potential acquisition, neither GolTV nor Al Jazeera Sports Network has responded to EPL Talk’s requests for comment.

In the past six months, Al Jazeera has been on a spending spree, picking up Ligue Un rights in France as well as TV rights to UEFA Champions League in the same country. With the recent news of acquisitions in the United States for coverage of some of the top soccer leagues, Al Jazeera Sports Network is definitely one to look out for.

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