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

aljazeera 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.

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 →
This entry was posted in FOX Soccer, GolTV, Leagues: EPL, Sky Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Owen says:

    I’m not necessarily angry about this (Al Jazeera is a respected name in news to me, not one that conjures up negative images) but I certainly wonder where exactly I will be tuning in to watch these games. As far as I can tell I don’t get Al Jazeera Sports on Comcast, but the main Al Jazeera news channel is apparently available for free on their own website. Interesting times and a lot of uncertainty, no doubt.

  2. Ade says:

    terrible news for all soccer fans in the US unless this network plans to massively expand in the next year. Even the people that do have Dish Network, will you really watch games that are broadcast in Arabic?

    This would be devastating news if they got Premier League rights.

    • Keith says:

      Wow, how stupid are you? The games WILL BE IN ENGLISH! Seriously? You think they’ll buy US rights and only show the games in Arabic? Why would they do that? They already have an English news network in the US that’s 24/7 English.

  3. Jason Gatties says:

    Wow. DirecTV doesn’t offer it and I have my doubts whether they would carry it in the future.

  4. CTBlues says:

    If Al Jazeera gets the EPL rights what is going to be the point in Fox Soccer, The Championship, Rugby and SPL or will Al Jazzira just sub-license the the games to Fox Soccer and/or ESPN?

    • Keith says:

      Potentially. They might also be doing this on purpose to knock out their main competitor to worldwide football coverage. They also could be doing this for larger reasons, since Al Jazeera and Fox stand diametrically opposed on many issues.

  5. Yespage says:

    I’d think buying Gol TV would almost be necessary, unless they branded a new name in the US. The idea of an Arab channel in the US would scare some, anger others, and lead to protests. 24/7 coverage on Fox News about how the Muslims are taking over the US (It was the Communists in the 50s and 60s, the Japanese in the 80s and 90s, now the Muslims today). As far as a bidding war, the US seems the wrong place for it. European Football just isn’t that popular.

    But if they bought Gol TV, the only people who’ll know will be football fans, and it may not elicit as much attention. What seems to be certain is that they need to expand their channel’s availability (or create one or two sport channels and do likewise), sell the rights to Fox and ESPN, or buy an existing station. Should be interesting where this goes. Does soccer viewing become easier or harder for Americans next year?

    Without Serie A, FSC and FS+ lose a good deal of their typical weekend programming. However, there are other leagues in Europe that exist to be shown.

    • Keith says:

      There already is an “arab” channel. It’s called Al Jazeera English and it’s on 24/7 and they survived the initial anti-muslim attack from Fox. Al Jazeera could easily create Al Jazeera Sport and show 1,2,3,4 football games at the same time like they do in the Middle East. They don’t need to buy Gol TV. They have the money to create a rival to ESPN, they don’t need to buy a mess of a half functioning network.

      European Football is becoming very popular in the US there just isn’t enough coverage. Between MLS, EPL, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 there might be 3 games available each week on basic cable and that’ mostly regionalized coverage of MLS (for example Comcast’s DC channel shows DC United matches). A six channel Al Jazeera Sports Network could instantly drastically increase football coverage in the US.

      • Yespage says:

        Well, if we are going to be so flight-of-fancy, Al Jazeera can just create its own football based Cable provider. :^D

        Like I said, it is a matter of what they’ll want to do, but they’ll need to do something as only Dish offers their channel and that’s via an International package that is on a satellite that probably isn’t available to many subscribers.

        I still think the Al Jazeera name will be problematic in the US as it carries a ridiculous stigma, but still a stigma. Though the idea of NASCAR on Al Jazeera just came to my mind and it’d be hilarious to see the NASCAR faithful’s reaction.

        • Keith says:

          I think anti-Muslim and European football fans are two separate fan groups with almost zero cross over therefore this won’t cause any real issues.

    • RayO says:

      I would think the Al Jazeera name is as toxic as toxic can be regarding any type of U.S. network at the moment. Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s terrible business sense to sell the rights to a network that is basically not only not in the public consciousness but virtually non-existent on cable/satellite providers. Not once have I hard…”Oh Boy I have to get home and turn on Al Jazeera!”

      I just switched from Dish back to DirecTV and had no idea there was even Al Jazeera on Dish. Hell it’s hard enough to locate NBCSports channel to watch MLS games ( I happened to stumble on Colorado v. Union) by accident.

      Right now you can set your Saturday clock to getting a game on ESPN 2 on Saturday morning and then jumping over to Fox/FSC + to get the 10:00am (EST) game. It takes time to develop viewership patterns.

      • Paul says:

        How does it all work in the US? Over here channels launch all the time and just appear on the EPG. Is it so hard to think that AJ might just launch their own set of channels? What problems would that pose in America? Are they not able to launch new channels on DirecTV and Dish for example?

        Don’t forget that the same scenario happened in France when they won the Ligue 1 & Champions League rights – they still don’t have any outlet for their acquisitions there. When all is said and done it’s money that talks the loudest and that’s why they won the rights.

        Have faith though… they’re a very good broadcaster. I’ve seen a few games via satellite from their Middle East channels and the quality seems really good. I’m looking forward to their UK move. La Liga rights are up over here soon and if they’re serious then they’ll start off by poaching them away from Sky.

        • olivert says:

          AJ will have to negotiate with each individual pay TV operator.

          DIRECTV and DISH Network are the two satellite TV operators in the US. Their combined market share is about 35%.

          Major cable TV operators in the U.S. include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks (joint venture between Time Warner Cable and Advance/Newhouse), COX, and Charter Communications.

          Telephone companies also offer pay TV via IPTV technology. The two major IPTV operators are Verizon FiOS and AT&T Uverse.

          Even after a deal is done with the national headquarters of a Cable TV operator, each cable TV system within the corporate umbrella can decide whether to offer the channel within the community.

          In contrast, once a deal is done with DIRECTV or DISH Network, the new channel will be aviilable nationally.

          Furthermore, most English-language and Spanish-language TV channels in the U.S. are NOT sold a-la-carte, but are sold in bundles known as “tiers” or “packages”. The various tiers are:

          - Limited Basic (a bundle of free-to-air and “access” channels, with at most 1 pay TV channel of any value.)

          - Expanded Basic (most popular pay TV channels, such as CNN, ESPN, ESPN2, and regional sports networks, and several 100% Spanish-language channels owned by Univision Communications, including the new Univision Deportes Network. Another 100% Spanish-language sports channel, FOX Deportes, is in this tier in Spanish-speaking cities such as Los Angeles.)

          - Digital Basic (newer pay TV channels with low subscriber fees are in this tier. Examples would include ESPNEWS and ESPNU for minor U.S. college sports)

          - Digital Expanded (some cable systems put FOX Soccer in this tier)

          - Spanish-language basic (CNN en Espanol is usually in this tier)

          - Spanish-language digital (ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes, and GOLTV are in this tier.)

          - Sports Tier (DIRECTV puts FOX Soccer in this tier. GOLTV also resides here as well as in the Spanish-language digital.)

          - Premium and a-la-carte channels (such as HBO, Showtime, and FOX Soccer Plus)

          - a-la-carte international channels in languages other than English or Spanish (generally very expensive at over $15/month each)

          Most pay channels in “Expanded Basic” and “Digital Basic” are in English with the notable exception of those channels owned by Univision Communications, which are 100% Spanish and are targeted toward mostly Mexicans living in the U.S. (which already exceed the entire population of Canada.) Univision Communications has the clout because it is the exclusive U.S. distributor of the most popular TV programs in the Spanish-speaking world, which are produced by Mexican media giant Televisa.

          The Spanish-language tiers are growing, but are still very small (about 6-8% of U.S. TV households actually take them even though 12% of U.S. TV households are Hispanic).

          Al Jazeera does not have the leverage that Univision Communications does so any Spanish-language sports channel Al Jazeera were to offer in the U.S. will be in Spanish-language Digital.

          The English-language sports network to be offered by Al Jazeera, if there were to be one, will be in the sports tier or premium a-la-carte.

          • Paul says:

            Crazy. Over here we have the choice of two tiers of channels – the ‘Entertainment Pack’ (which everybody has to have) and the add-on ‘Entertainment Extra’ pack with an extra 50+ channels for an additional £5 per month. You then pay extra for the premium channels like Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, ESPN etc. Seems a whole lot simpler than having all those different packages you guys have.

            I suppose it’s a whole lot easier for new channels to launch without a problem over here because we’re such a small country and only really have Sky (for satellite) and Virgin (for cable) but any major channels would tend to launch on both. We have IPTV too but that’s not really as popular. Sky Sports recently won the live rights for every Formula One race so decided to launch a dedicated channel (Sky Sports F1) and it became available on both Sky and Virgin platforms immediately.

            Sounds a lot more complicated for you!

  6. Fernando says:

    Well this is certainly interesting news to say the least. I’d say the purchase of the SPL makes a lot more sense then it being cheap programming.

    The biggest question for this is how Al Jazeera will get on the major cable providers since they have zero presence in the United States. If it’s a matter of them expecting viewers to flock to whatever single outlet that carries them I think they are underestimating the craftiness of the American viewer to subvert that.

    Fox Soccer without Serie A or the EPL is a diminished network.

    • Yespage says:

      Without Serie A, FSC hurts a little, but without EPL, FSC hurts a lot more. There is little reason for FSC to exist without EPL football. Makes me wonder if this is another reason they grabbed at the Europa League.

      • Fernando says:

        Well the reason to exist would be to air football which it would do with or without the EPL on its air. Would the brand be damaged if they lost the league? Of course but the channel would live on just as GolTV does right now.

        As a second hand channel. And if you say La Liga, let’s be clear the incentive for that league is Real Madrid and Barcelona. That’s it. As a league nobody in this country cares.

        • Digger says:

          More people in this country care about La Liga more than Serie A because of those 2 giants. Serie A is a boring as heck league anyway with Italian Catenaccio.

          • Fernando says:

            Well yes Serie A does have Italian football as you point out.

            On the substance of the league overall, there is no comparison Serie A is a much more interesting league. Everyone was enthralled by Bilbao last week and rightfully so but what Napoli did during their Champions League run was just as impressive at the very least.

          • Steve says:

            Jesus, where do I start to respond to such an ignorant comment? First, I imagine you think Serie A is boring because you know nothing about it, because the English media tells you to think that way, and because you have never given the league an honest chance. And second, catenaccio? Catenaccio?! Catenaccio is a very specific type of defense involving a four man back line, a conservative sweeper, and man marking. It was developed literally half a century ago and hasn’t existed for decades. Christ. You Serie A haters have no idea what you’re even attacking.

        • olivert says:

          FOX Soccer will have World Cup 2018 and 2022. That will ensure survival and growth.

          FOX’s ultimate goal is to push FOX Soccer from the sports tier onto expanded basic in order to reach over 80 million U.S. households (if not over 100 million.)

          That will happen by 2018 because of the World Cup.

          No other product on FOX Soccer will allow FOX to achieve that ultimate goal.

  7. Keith says:

    I think Al Jazeera vs. Murdoch is going to be a big media battle over the next decade and it’s not surprising that Al Jazeera is going after Murdoch’s American football coverage which is an untapped market with 300 million sports enthusiasts.

    I can’t believe all the nonsense in the comments though about this network being in Arabic. Seriously?! Is Serie A coverage only in Italian now? La Liga in Spanish? No. It’s offered but they also provide English commentary.

    • Yespage says:

      No one here is condoning intolerance to Al Jazeera.

      Maybe you haven’t been paying attention, but the right-wing pulled out all the stops to prevent the building the “World Trade Center” Muslim Community Center that wasn’t going to be built all that close to the World Trade Center, and was going to be at the location of a former Burlington Coat Factory, and the project was being partially funded by one of Newscorp’s largest stockholders!

      A portion of the US has gone from ‘dumb but harmless’ to ‘completely insane’, and to ignore that is ridiculous.

      • Keith says:

        The anti-Muslim crowd doesn’t watch “soccer”. I’m willing to put all my money on that. They are (stereotypically) Southerners who watch American football all day every day.

        Soccer (to differentiate between which football) is popular among the East/West coast crowds and amongst some urban professionals in the middle of the country (in Chicago, KC, Dallas, Salt Lake). I don’t think there is any cross over.

        Also, Al Jazeera English is available to most (I think, I get it in DC) Comcast subscribers in the 2nd cable package (not basic cable but not premium either). They already have penetrated the US market (in terms of owning a channel and having it provided nation wide) without much reaction. Owning the rights to European football isn’t going to be a big deal. Now if Al Jazeera partners with the SEC football conference we’d be having a different conversation.

  8. RBP says:

    Still don’t care who airs it as long as I have access to it. Probably going to cancel my FSC+ subscription though, thoroughly enjoy Ligue Un, easily my “second league”.

  9. MNUfan1991 says:

    Good. More airtime for EPL on FSC/+ :)

  10. MrTuktoyaktuk says:

    EPL is a top attraction but can FSC survive just based on that alone?

    I can’t believe that A-J would spend the money for Serie A and La Liga without some idea of how the stuff is going to get to air. Gol TV makes the most sense.

    • Sam says:

      FSC will have to hope they can buy some content from A-J like espn does with them otherwise FSC cannot survive.

    • olivert says:

      FOX Soccer needs to keep costs until control until FIFA World Cup 2018.

      The World Cup is the ONLY product which will allow FOX Soccer to escape the sports tiers and be placed on expanded basic across to U.S. so that subscriber count will jump from less than 50 million to over 80 million (if not closer to 100 million.)

      Repeat, FOX Soccer will not experience another growth spurt until FIFA World Cup 2018.

      Nothing else will allow FOX Soccer to grow beyond the population rate between now and 2018. Not the Premier League, not UEFA Champions League.

  11. Paul says:

    Incredible seeing how Al Jazeera are pouncing on TV rights now. First it was French domestic rights and now they’re taking on America too. I’ll put good money on them putting up a very good fight with Fox for US PL rights when they go up. Be interesting to see what moves they make in the UK going against the powerhouse that is Sky!

  12. Sam says:

    My only concern is availability of the network. I don’t want to wait 1-2 years for the network to be picked up. That being said, these guys are not stupid – they wont get the rights and then keep it locked up on a small network and not look to grow. They will invest and provide decent programming and will prob offer online streaming options too.

    For those who don’t know, the english version of al-jazeera news channel is decent with many english or american reporters and presenters. I was surprised by the quality of content and good news reporting (like the bbc news). I can’t comment on the arabic version of the news channel because i dont know the language.

    I do agree that it will be tough to get the average american to watch a channel called al-jazeera with the negatives out there so they may just buy another network or might even just call their sports network ‘ AJ Sports’ or something like that.

    At the end of the day I just want quality soccer available in HD and online with good commentators (ie no tommy smyth or max bretos).

    • olivert says:

      On the contrary, AJ appears to be tossing “stupid money” at this project in the U.S.

      The history of “stupid money” bidding up soccer TV rights around the world is well documented.

      Spectacular failures such as GuangDong TV’s WinTV pay subscription soccer channel in Mainland China is still fresh in the minds of the the executives and the Premier League and the big Premier League clubs, whose brands in Mainland China were damaged significantly because WinTV was way too expensive (subscription fee was about 20% of an average worker’s salary.) The Premier League clubs will need a few years to undo the damage.

      Furthermore, NewsCorp and ESPN, Inc., via their involvement with ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) in Asia, have encountered local competitors bidding “stupid money” to jack up soccer TV rights fees to insane levels. ESS gave up rights to the Premier League in Hong Kong (in 2004), Singapore (in 2007), Thailand (in 2007), and China (in 2007.)

      I already expect ESPN UK to be prepared to walk away from the UK rights to the Premier League if Al Jazeera were to bid.

      I would not be surprised if FOX Soccer (NewsCorp) and ESPN Inc. to walk away from the UK rights to the Premier League if Al Jazeera were to jack up the bidding for the U.S. rights to the Premier League given the prior history of NewsCorp and ESPN, Inc. against competitors who make insane bids in Asia.

      • Paul says:

        Correct – ESPN are not expected to enter into a bidding war should AJ take on Sky for the majority of the 138 live games. If the PL decide to address the issue of broadcasting 3pm games in pubs from European channels then they might increase the live games to around 200 this time around and in the process stop selling all 380 games to European satellite broadcasters. If the games are increased from 138 then it’s still very possible that all 3 broadcasters could win packages. One near certainty at least is that to avoid any claims of wrongdoing from Europe again, the Premier League will sell to at least two broadcasters in order to avoid cries of a monopoly etc.

    • Seminole Gunner says:

      I’m hoping we can rely on Al Jazeera to exploit the rights well, but it’s not like NewsCorp is any slouch and it still took FOX years to firmly establish themselves and get what we all now consider a large amount of games on TV.

  13. Mark says:

    Terrible news for soccer in the US.

    Many fans just aren’t going to have access. Many of them aren’t about to call their operator and ask for the channel.

    The many more we are slowly converting to the game will be turned off by the association with what is seen too often as an anti-American network.

    • Fernando says:

      Seeing as a lot of sports are held on Fox in this country including Fox Soccer, I don’t think anyone holds the bias of their cable news network against Fox or FSC and their programming.

      To affirm that to a channel nobody in this country watches is not a credible comparison IMO.

      AJ will have air sports on their sports network and that’s all. The issue of access that you point out is very valid.

  14. Seminole Gunner says:

    This is disappointing news if it means we restart the whole process of channels being added to providers, HD channels being added to providers, channels trying out online watching options (which seem to ALWAYS be error prone at the start), etc.

  15. Pete says:

    I think there is always going to be scepticism when a new channel goes for something like football (soccer). People get used to the channel numbers, the presenters, and the overall coverage, and when something comes in to possibly mess that up then people will be wary. Throw in the additional fact that this network is probably most famous for showing people getting their head cut off and the scepticism goes up a few notches further.
    I suppose it may well work out well, people may find the service is just as good and the cost is less, then again it could be a disaster, we will see.

    • Paul says:

      “Throw in the additional fact that this network is probably most famous for….” Are you for real? You come on here and make absurd comments like that and then expect people to take you seriously?

      Comments like that need to be removed.

      • Pete says:

        Walk down the street and ask people what they think of when they think of Al Jazeera.
        If you are going to deny reality then you are the one not to be taken seriously. What’s your thinking? Let’s not mention the big elephant in the room? Whether they did or didn’t show the said film is neither here nor there, that is what people will think. Who did terrorists used to hand their videos to again? I can’t think right now, it might have been that elephant

        • Paul says:

          Well those people walking down the street need to wise up and start learning a few facts don’t you think? Perhaps they’ve been brainwashed so much by certain media outlets into thinking Al Jazeera was ‘Bin Laden’s channel’ or something along those ridiculous lines? If those people are going to plod along in life believing whatever rubbish they’re fed then I really pity them – and I pity people like you for fuelling the fire.

          Ok certain clips that have been shown on Al Jazeera in the past may not have been what we are used to in the UK, or the US, but unlike Western journalism they tend to show things as they really are and don’t sugarcoat them. It’s a Middle Eastern broadcaster that doesn’t conform to the strict regimes of other countries such as neighbouring Saudi Arabia and has, in the past, found itself being heavily criticised by those regimes who frown upon it for its true reporting.

          I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of the Index on Censorship but Al Jazeera have previously won the “Freedom of Expression” award for their news coverage!

          People these days walk a very thin line when it comes to blatant racism and xenophobia.

          Sorry for turning the football / soccer thread into a political one but if I sit here and read one more ignorant comment I’ll scream.

  16. Jon says:

    The story that broke on La Liga hasn’t been picked up by any other outlet.

    Not saying I totally don’t believe either, but…?

    • olivert says:

      Traditiional media outlets in the U.S. are waiting for press releases. They don’t do enterprise reporting for international club soccer TV rights because the audience for that information is way too small to matter to them. The only time traditional media does enterprise reporting is when the rights to the World Cup are announced (and most of the sports and soccer-specific reporters were way off on their predictions, which tells you how much they don’t know about the media business.)

      The Gaffer’s source is correct. I have verified the news independently with a different source.

      AJ has knocked out GOLTV for U.S. rights to La Liga, and FOX for U.S. rights to Serie A.

      AJ (as the new international distributor) has chosen to keep Ligue 1 for itself in the U.S. instead of licensing it to anyone else so FOX has lost Ligue 1 as well.

  17. Guy says:

    I am astounded by some of the commentary…….well….not really. Can we at least wait until we see how this all plays out before we run off the cliff like a bunch of lemmings? Or is a plea for rationality asking too much?

    Never mind……don’t answer…..

  18. Dane C says:

    I think football has lost a lot of momentum today. If NBC Sports picked up La Liga and Serie A, I’d call it a net negative for the game. But to have Al Jazeera controlling 2 of the 3 most relevant football leagues here is a borderline disaster.

    If they buy GOL TV and then package it without any hint of AJ ownership it might fly but the distribution of the game would still be significatly restricted.

    ESPN may get a lot of stick but I think futbol gains casual fans when that network shows matches. The other channels are basically out of sight, out of mind.

    • olivert says:

      NBC Sports Group (Comcast/NBCUniversal) was NOT interested in European club soccer, PERIOD.

      NBC Sports Group wanted MLS, US National Teams, and the World Cups, but lost the bidding for the English-language rights to the World Cups (2015-2022) to FOX Sports Media Group.

      Comcast/NBCUniversal (NBC Sports Group and Telemundo Networks) was believed to have bid $1 billion total for the U.S. rights to the 2015-2022 FIFA properties: $600 million for Spanish-language U.S. rights and $400 million for the English-language U.S. rights, but Comcast lost lost out on the English-language side because FOX reportedly bid $450 million.

  19. cnl. onions says:

    I just really hope that it get a partnership going with AppleTV or something similar so that I can eventually wipe out my cable totally or at least to the bare bones. AppleTV already has NBA League Pass and Netflix…only other thing I watch is footie.

  20. olivert says:

    Tying up one loose end:

    Al Jazeera bought the international media rights to Ligue 1 in all countries and territories except France, in all languages across all platforms, for the 2012-2018 contract cycle (6 seasons) for a total of EURO 192 million, or EURO 32 million/season.

    That deal was announced in May 2011. Very old news.

    http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/al_jazeera_sports_wins_ligue_1_international_distribution_rights/

    A French-language sports channel (modified from the channel to be launched in France), under a brand to be announced, targeting Quebec and Atlantic Canada with spillover into the rest of Canada, the U.S. and probably the Caribbean and Latin America (including Brazil), is a foregone conclusion at this point.

    Al Jazeera will need to purchase or produce enough “Canadian Content” in order to obtain a CRTC licence to air the channel in Canada.

    One would expect Al Jazeera to offer Ligue 1 via tape-delay on the Spanish-language sports channel targeting the U.S. Hispanic market.

    The big question remains English-language coverage in the U.S.

    FOX obviously figured out that Al Jazeera would not sell the rights to Ligue 1 to FOX for the next contract cycle before making the decision to sign a deal with SPORTFIVE for the English-language U.S. video rights to the Scottish Premier League.

    Out: 5 Ligue 1 matches on FOX Soccer and 38 Ligue 1 matches on FOX Soccer Plus (with the rest on FOXSoccer2GO)

    In: FOX Soccer will get the 4 Old Firm derbies in the SPL and FOX Soccer Plus will get about 70 SPL matches

  21. Cantona says:

    I am truly amazed at the sentiment of the uninformed regarding Al Jazeera.. one thing I will guarantee.. they will not change their name.. regardless of the right wing propaganda in the USA… they are a global brand…if/when they take over GolTv.. it will become Al Jazeera Sports 1,2, or 3..and it will be primarily in English.. and another thing is certain, they will keep pumping money into their PR machine and by the time the World Cup in Qatar comes around.. you will think that place is the center of the universe…

    Al Jazeera broadcasts are top quality.. as someone said earlier..if you have ever viewed streamed matches.. you probably have seen one.. it blows away anything in the US.. rivaled only by Sky Sports or ESPN STAR broadcasts..

    Cantona—

    • olivert says:

      @”Cantona”:

      Don’t be so sure about English-language coverage or the branding just yet.

      One of the subsidiaries of MEDIAPRO is advising Al Jazeera. That company is based in South Florida and the company specializes in Spanish-language TV content production for the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America.

      (The same company advising Al Jazeera right now also provided advice to GOLTV, Inc. during its early days 10 years ago.)

      I am certain about the French-language sports channel and the Spanish-language sports channel, but I have heard or read nothing that would indicate that an English-language channel is being planned in the U.S.

      That would change if Al Jazeera were to win the U.S. rights to the Premier League for 2013-2016.

      • Yespage says:

        Why buy Serie A and La Liga if there is no intention to show it themselves?

        • olivert says:

          But AJ is planning to show La Liga in the U.S. in Spanish for certain. (A subsidiary of MEDIAPRO in South Florida that specializes in Spanish-language video production for the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America is putting that channel together for AJ.)

          Ligue 1 can also be shown via tape-delay on the Spanish-language channel. Ditto Serie A.

          Ligue 1 will also be shown in North America in French on a satellite/digital cable channel. That channel will be produced in France with modifications to meet CRTC licensing requirements in Canada.

          Neither the Gaffer nor I can get enough information to figure out whether AJ plans to offer English-language audio on the Spanish-language channel, or a separate English-language channel.

          Please stop running round like headless chicken. It is way too early to panic. The hysteria is unjustified. Wait for things to play out.

  22. joejoe says:

    The problem with Al Jazeera is Al Jazeera. Let’s not sugar coat it. Nobody in the USA likes Al Jazeera. The best thing they can do is simply sub lease the rights.

    • Cantona says:

      that doesnt make sense… most of the soccer community are not general rednecks that think like that… their might be some anti-arab sentiment when the channel starts out.. but the quality of the football broadcast is what most footy fans want.. when they see it .. they could care less if the channel they are watching is called Al Jazeera.

      Cantona—

    • trickybrkn says:

      Perception is a problem… the problem isn’t that Americans don’t like Al Jazeera, its that they don’t get or misunderstand what it is. This only benefits Americans, as they will likely do away with the Fox Soccer plus add on, give tv operators cheaper buy ins, and stream the matches for free.
      I welcome them. more soccer outlets more football for us.

      Al Jazeera News is one of the most balanced broadcasters… Its actually free to air world wide via satellite. and thus my comments on them offering us the consumer more choice at less cost. But i could be wrong.

      • Yespage says:

        They probably don’t “misunderstand” Al Jazeera, as much as it is more likely they have been lied to about it. Nearly 80% of people that live in Alabama and Mississippi either aren’t sure of Obama’s religion or think he is a Muslim. This is the sort stupidity and poor media that is dealt with in America.

        I don’t know if I share your optimism about free streams and the other greatness of Al Jazeera taking the EPL rights. It isn’t as if Fox Soccer has set a low bar for access to the EPL. We have better access to the EPL than the British do!

        What Al Jazeera does with the rights they now have, and those of which they may acquire will be interesting to say the least. Especially if they were to obtain FS+. I would wonder what Fox would do with the Rugby rights. A widely distributed channel would seemingly be a must, preferably on a spanish channel that has a SAP with English. :^)

  23. Cantona says:

    I hear what you are saying.. but the arrogance and money of the Qatari’s.. and them focusing on promoting the World Cup in Qatar.. I see them branding more than one Al Jazeera Sports English language channel in the US. They have the ability to push through carriage agreements $$$$$$…These guys are not amateurs..they have a plan.. I would guess they would start with the soccer-centric national footprint of Dish and DirecTv first. The new seasons start in the next 5-6 months.. so we should expect to start hearing the rumblings of this plan VERY soon.

    Cantona—

    • olivert says:

      @Cantona:

      You have no idea what is really going on because you haven’t talked to anyone in the industry to understand what is really happening.

      The Gaffer (who runs this blog) is based in South Florida. He has enough industry contacts down there so he can actually see with his own eyes and listen with his own years.

      I did business with GOLTV from 2003 through 2008, having met Enzo Francescoli and other officers in person when they were in San Francisco for a trade show in 2004.

      The same company that is advising Al Jazeera now for the launch of a SPANISH-language sports TV network targeting the U.S. Hispanic market performed the same advisory role for GOLTV 10 years ago.

      South Florida is where the action is taking place right now, not Doha, not London.

  24. joejoe says:

    It doesn’t make sense? … Remember the Dubai Ports World controversy? A lot of people blew a fuse over that one. I’m not saying the deal is not going to happen. What I’m saying is that a network with an Arabic name will have a very hard time in the states. Oh and if you think only rednecks have a problem with AJ then you don’t know the USA.

  25. Cantona says:

    rednecks and the uninformed.

    Cantona—

  26. joejoe says:

    Cantona maybe you need to inform yourself. Al Jazeera English news is hardly seen in the USA. Most of the Egypt coverage from AJ was only available online. That means no cable carriage. Now that AJ is pulling the AK full auto I doubt the big broadcasting players are going to let them play. Maybe day one they only have rights to La liga or Serie A, but will they stop there? … The only safe play is not to let them in. AJ will have to sub lease their rights.

    • Earl Reed says:

      Would that be such a bad thing? Let’s say AJ sublets to FOX Soccer. Maybe they put a mandate on FOX placing X number of matches on FOX, rather than FOX Soccer. Or maybe they require that FOX Soccer go through many hoops to get wider distribution in America. Step up their efforts to be added as a network. Maybe AJ throws money around to help FOX. Maybe they partner with ESPN to create a new soccer channel that gains wide distribution.

      The current problem IMO is that each of these players aside from GolTV (FOX, ESPN, NBC) have alternate interests in American sport. Every single one of them are in a contract with the NFL. When you see soccer on the television at 10 PM at night when half the country is in bed, think about that. When MLS Cup coincides with one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL, think about that. The one thing that soccer represents to all of these major “American” sports is the lack of commercial time. It’s a threat to the entire way the system operates.

      It would be quite ironic if Qatar 2022 contributed to this, and ended up paving a way for more people to watch the sport. They may have to redistribute the rights to sell the product, but if they’re ponying the dough, they likely have a plan.

      • olivert says:

        Once I found out that AJ bought the rights to Serie A as well, I got a better picture of what is going on:
        AJ doesn’t really have plan to make money on this project in the U.S.

        Otherwise, AJ wouldn’t have bought two products with conflicting kickoff times.

        The Qataris (in my opinion) are throwing stupid money around as a marketing and public relations exercise.

  27. Earl Reed says:

    I’m at the point where an outside investor in the United States soccer market might be a great thing for the sport. The current slate of soccer distributors in America have shown little initiative to put the sport at the forefront. If Al Jazeera were to purchase the rights for the top European leagues, then it would be imperative that they get their network on as many televisions in America as possible.

    It could spell trouble for FOX Soccer, if that happens though. Tough to survive on the Old Firm Derby.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I disagree Earl with your comment that “The current state of soccer distributors in America have shown little initiative to put the sport at the forefront.” We have more soccer on more channels than ever before. What we have now is a great offering. Adding Al Jazeera to the mix could change everything. But it’s too early to say until we know what the plans are from Al Jazeera. Unfortunately, they’re not talking right now.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • brn442 says:

        I would agree with Gaffer – The average soccer fan probably has more access and less costly at that, to the PL than most other countries, including the UK. Whatever happens, I will always be grateful to Fox for allowing us to see live football every Sat/Sun without major incident the last few years. As for Al jazzera, as long as I have access to matches via cable, without having to buy a higher tier, I really don’t care, as Fox has shockingly produced NOTHING of value, or should I say – NOTHING, in house, outside of “Fox Soccer Report” the last 10 years.

        • olivert says:

          FOX does NOT produce “FOX Soccer Report”.

          Shaw Media (formerly Canwest Global) produces “FOX Soccer Report” from the studio of CKND-DT in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

          The program airs in Canada on both FOX Sports World Canada and EuroWorld Sport.

          “FOX Soccer Report” will likely be discontinued at the end of the current season. Shaw has decided to shut down the FOX Sports World Canada service at 11:59pm ET on April 30.

    • olivert says:

      FOX Soccer can and will survive without the Premier League.

      NewsCorp and ESPN, Inc. have experience with “stupid money” before. Each time ESPN STAR Sports (in Asia) ran into “stupid money”, ESPN STAR Sports gave up the rights to the Premier League (in Hong Kong since 2004; in China, Singapore, and Thailand since 2007) ESPN and STAR Sports channels are still running in those countries and territories.

      FOX Soccer needs to keep costs under control until FIFA World Cup 2018.

      The World Cup is the ONLY product which will allow FOX Soccer to escape the sports tiers and be placed on expanded basic across to U.S. so that subscriber count will jump from less than 50 million to over 80 million (if not closer to 100 million.)

      Repeat, FOX Soccer will not experience another growth spurt until FIFA World Cup 2018.

      Nothing else will allow FOX Soccer to grow beyond the population rate between now and 2018. Not the Premier League, not the UEFA Champions League. Only the World Cup in 2018 will do the trick.

      • Yespage says:

        Survive without the EPL. Why in the world would I care about FSC, if they didn’t have the EPL? One of the main reasons I have pay TV is FSC to watch the EPL in HD. I doubt I’m alone in saying no EPL means I close the door on FSC.

        • olivert says:

          Because you will need FOX Soccer to watch at least half the games from FIFA World Cups 2018 and 2022 if you want English-language audio.

          You can always watch Telemundo in Spanish if that is OK with you.

          • Yespage says:

            FSC has to survive to the World Cup in order to show it. Are you suggesting that people will stick with FSC until 2018 to watch the World Cup, instead of dropping FSC like a rock, and then picking it back up when the World Cup comes?

            No EPL, no FSC. They may adapt and merge FSC and FS+ back into Fox Sports World and show Rugby, but there is little point in a channel where the main games are SPL and Championship. In the end, they’d probably just buy the rights to a couple EPL games, but even then… if the big games are Al Jazeera, people may no longer care about FSC and it may not exist by 2018.

          • olivert says:

            FOX Soccer has UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for 2012-2015. I am sure you will want to keep FOX Soccer in order watch the big Premier League clubs in action on weeknights.

  28. Jean says:

    YOU GUYS ARE REAL MORONS FOR DISCUSSING ABOUT THE NEWS DIVISION.

    I CARE ABOUT THE SPORTS DIVISION. If they show the game on basic cable and its all good, and they throw it over to the international feed PLUS its in english, then what else do I need?? Online? Surely, it’ll be available online? iOS apps?? Certainly?? Phones?? Half and half. THEN I’M HAPPY AND YOU SHOULD, TOO. Who cares about the News division?? I’m not gonna watch pro-ME news from a ME news channel or any other channel for that matter, but I’m not gonna watch a ME sports channel JUST because the news division is pro-ME!!

  29. Cantona says:

    @oliver Your right I don’t have any specific knowledge regarding the rights issues its pure speculation on my part. I do have a friend that works for the Al Jazeera news bureau in DC that did give me an insight to how they run their business.. Their brand is everything to them… They want to as recognizable as the BBC,ESPN, FOX, or SKY… That is why is doesn’t make sense for them to keep the GolTv name if they indeed purchase the channel.

    And let’s be fair Oliver you have made some bold predictions with your inside knowledge that have not come true, so I don’t think you discount anyone else trying to read the tea leaves.

    Cantona—

  30. David the Yank says:

    Oliver or Gaffer, can you address the following. This sportsbusiness site claimed back in November that MP/Silva had retained the Serie A international broadcast rights for all countries save Italy (http://www.sportbusiness.com/news/184731/mp-silva-retains-serie-a-s-international-broadcast-rights).

    Is the above correct? If so, is your source saying that MP/Silva has negotiated to license the US rights to AJ instead of its current deals with Fox/RAI? Can you confirm if RAI has also been dropped by MP/Silva so that AJ is the *exclusive* sub-licensee for Serie A rights in the US starting next year?

    Thanks very much

    • Paul says:

      MP & Silva is a company that handles the sale and distribution of footage and rights etc. They will handle the production and distribution side of things in the same way IMG do for the Premier League – they do all the technical side of things. The deals that affect us, as viewers, are the individual broadcaster rights deals which are totally different to what the likes of MP & Silva and IMG do. The broadcast rights for La Liga and Serie A have been sold to Al Jazeera.

      • olivert says:

        MP & Silva does not handle the video production and distribution for the Serie A.

        InFront handles the video production and distribution of Serie A under contract with MP & Silva.

    • Paul says:

      To understand it a bit better have a look at their website at http://www.mpsilva.com/mediarights.php

      You’ll see that they have the responsibility to negotiate and sell rights to various sports and leagues around the world. They are in charge of selling Serie A rights worldwide (except in Italy), La Liga in Indonesia & Vietnam, Premier League in Indonesia & Vietnam. It’s all the boring stuff… what matters most is who they sell the rights to in territories you’re directly concerned with so in this case, that would the US and Al Jazeera.

    • olivert says:

      MP & Silva is the broker for the international rights to Serie A and Coppa Italia.

      (MP & Silva does not broker the rights to the SuperCoppa Italiana or the Italian national team. RAI Trade holds all media rights to those two products worldwide.)

      MP & Silva does not handle video production for Serie A or Coppa Italia. Instead, MP & Silva hired Infront to produce video for international distribution. That’s why you see the “Infront” logo on all the microphone flags during the highlights and magazine shows.

      In the U.S. for the 2010-2012 cycle:

      MP & Silva sold the TV rights and non-exclusive Internet rights in English and Spanish to FOX, non-exclusive Internet rights in English to ESPN, Inc. RAI International bought the TV rights only in Italian.

      MP & Silva sold the TV rights and non-exclusive Internet rights to Coppa Italia in English and Spanish to GOLTV and non-exclusive Internet rights in English to ESPN, Inc. RAI International has no rights.

      In the U.S. for the 2012-2015 cycle:

      MP & Silva sold the TV rights in English and Spanish to Serie A to Al Jazeera, which outbid FOX.

      Don’t know yet about TV rights in other languages or internet rights.

      Don’t know yet about Coppa Italia.

  31. Paul says:

    Al Jazeera could yet make an even bigger statement of intent. The head of the PL, Richard Scudamore, has today stated that the league is discussing the possibility of doing a ‘pan-European’ rights deal for 2013-16 and in the process scrapping its domestic UK deal. If Al Jazeera do decide to take on Sky in that scenario they could stand to become the only rights holder for PL football in the whole of Europe. As it stands, there aren’t that many companies with enough money and backing to be able to afford a Europe wide deal… BSkyB and Al Jazeera are the two most likely candidates to battle it out. Would they then wish to become a worldwide force in PL football? I guess it’s highly possible…

    • olivert says:

      That’s just posturing.

      The easiest and most lucrative way for the Premier League to work around the Saturday 1500 London Time issue with the pubs is to stop playing Premier League matches at 1500 London Time and play them at 1245 London Time instead.

      (The other time slots, i.e. Saturdays at 1730 London Time, the 3 time slots on Sundays, and the 12 Monday night matches, will continue.)

      Pros:

      1. All 380 Premier League matches can be televised in the UK, meaning a lot more TV revenue from the UK broadcasters

      2. More matches can be televised during dinner time in East and Southeast Asia (1245 London = 1945 in Hong Kong when London is on summer time, 2045 in Hong Kong when London is on standard time.) That means more TV revenue from the crazy government-controlled TV companies in Asia who can’t stop throwing “stupid money” at the Premier League.

      Con:

      1 Potential backlash from the supporter groups, though their argument (based on “tradition”) is very thin. The UK is no longer an industrial economy. Most workers don’t have to work on Saturday morning/early afternoon until 1430 anymore.

      2. Potential opposition from the Football League and the conferences, who may fear that more televised matches, especially at 1245 London Time, would discourage potential customers from attending lower league matches at 1500 London Time.

      • Paul says:

        380 matches won’t be televised in the UK in order to preserve attendances at lower league matches. It just won’t happen. The only option is to move the PL to Sunday and have the Championship and other leagues played exclusively on Saturday but over the past 20 years it’s been discussed many times to no avail.

        Viewing times in Asia has nothing to do with it. Matches aren’t played at 12.45pm or 5.30pm on a Saturday for any other reason than they’re the only available options that fall outside the TV blackout period of 2.45pm – 5.15pm.

        The easiest way for them to stop 3pm games being shown in pubs is to stop selling all 380 games to European broadcasters which is a move they will no doubt come up with for the next rights deal. As it stands they’ve already limited all European satellite broadcasters to a maximum of one 3pm game and they’ve banned those same broadcasters from using the English commentary feeds.

        All the Saturday fixtures could not take place at 12.45pm on a Saturday. That is a ridiculous solution. 12.45pm is one of the worst slots because the atmosphere isn’t as good and for away games it can be impossible to get to certain parts of the country with good time – short of setting off the night before. I speak from first hand experience, supporting a PL club and attending the majority of games in person.

  32. Sam says:

    I don’t care who airs games as long as I have access to them. That said, I have Comcast and this worries me because I’m sure they won’t carry it/carry it in HD.

  33. Mark says:

    Al Jazeera has to expand their coverage in the U.S. before thinking of acquiring the EPL TV rights. As far as I know, I have barely seen any of their stations in the U.S. If the EPL sold them the TV rights, it would mean financial suicide for them.

    • Paul says:

      It wouldn’t mean financial suicide for the Premier League. The most valuable market for the PL is the UK – where domestic TV rights in the last deal were sold for £1.78 billion. The rest of the world combined only paid £1.4 billion in total so if it was shown in the US or not it wouldn’t really have an affect on finances.

    • olivert says:

      Not financial suicide, but brand suicide in the U.S. market, if Al Jazeera were to win the rights to the Premier League but were not able to secure wide distribution (via cable TV, which has 60% market share compared to the 35% share by the 2 major U.S. satellite TV providers.)

      The Premier League is still hurting from the GuangDong TV/WinTV fiasco in Mainland China.

      Manchester United (the ONLY Premier League club to own a megastore/museum on Chinese soil, at the Venetian Macao hotel/casino/resort in Macau) in particular was very vocal in voicing its displeasure with GuangDong TV for putting the Premier League on an a la carte pay subscription channel that could cost 20% of the salary of the average Chinese worker to subscribe.

      WinTV was shut down after the 2010-2011 Premier League season (after 4 seasons with tiny subscriber count), but the damage has been done to the big Premier League club brands and the damage will take at least a year to fix.

  34. Chris says:

    Wow, these leagues don’t think about channel coverage when selling the rights?

    • olivert says:

      Correct. Most leagues only care about the money.

      The Premier League is the only one that has turned from its mistake in Mainland China in 2006 when it let GuangDong TV win the rights over ESPN STAR Sports (which is managed by NewsCorp’s STAR TV unit from Singapore, with ESPN, Inc. holding 50% equity) for the 2007-2010 cycle and allowed GuangDong TV to renew again for 2010-2013.

      GuangDong TV proceeded to launch a new pay-subscription service WinTV that cost an average worker 20% of his salary to subscribe.

      WinTV failed after the 2010-2011 season.

      By then, the damage in Mainland China to the big Premier League club brands, particularly Manchester United, has been done and will take at least a year to fix.

      The Premier League is aware of Al Jazeera’s entry into the U.S. market and the Premier League will have to evaluate the pros and cons of continuing with the FOX/ESPN partnership vs Al Jazeera if Al Jazeera were to outbid FOX/ESPN.

      • Paul says:

        The Premier League won’t have to evaluate anything. Highest bidder wins – simple as that. Once the bidding process begins any previous ties mean absolutely nothing – that goes for long standing partner Sky as much as it goes for any other broadcasters the world over. As put by Richard Scudamore himself “Ultimately whatever umbilical cord there might be as an ongoing working commercial relationship gets severed as the invitation to tender gets issued.”

        If Al Jazeera put in the highest bid for Premier League TV rights, they win and it’s case closed until 2016. Only way that would change is if they failed on their payments like Setanta did in the UK.

        • olivert says:

          On the contrary, the Premier League now requires at least 38 matches on FREE-TO-AIR TV in a number of markets, including Mainland China, to prevent another WinTV fiasco.

          The Premier League simply has to require the winning bidder in the U.S. to put 10-12 matches (i.e. all “big 4″ clashes on weekends) on a free-to-air terrestrial TV network in the U.S. that can reach over 100 million households in order to disqualify Al Jazeera’s bid.

          Only a handful of terrestrial TV networks reach over 100 million households in the US. Al Jazeera does NOT own any of them and U.S. regulators will NOT allow majority ownership of terrestrial TV networks by foreign companies.

          (Mexican media giant Televisa was forced by U.S. regulators to sell Univision 25 years ago.)

          .

          • Paul says:

            Yes the WinTV move was seen as a strategic error but overall highest bidder still wins, with the addition of one package of matches going to a FTA broadcaster for no other reason than to maximise their reach in order to sell more merchandise and do more pre-season tours in a market they know there’s a lot of money to be made and is currently taken up by a huge NBA following. Apart from that one small package of games, the remaining games go to the highest bidder. This all began at one years Asia Trophy – 2009 I think it was. The only reason any matches have been shown in the US last year FTA is because Fox happen to own the rights and also have plenty of over the air affiliates. Where on earth have you pulled out this 100 million figure from?

      • Chris says:

        Well, if it loses viewers, then I guess I shouldn’t care if they don’t.

        • olivert says:

          The LFP (La Liga) does not have competent people in house who understand the differences between each international market and how choosing the wrong TV partner may damage their brands.

          The LFP and its member clubs in La Liga outsource international media rights sale and production to MEDIAPRO. The clubs only care about how much money MEDIAPRO can make for them without even thinking about how much money the clubs are leaving on the table (from merchandise sale, summer tour revenue, etc.) by blinding taking the highest bid for TV rights.

          On the other hand, the Premier League learned a valuable lesson after the WinTV debacle in Mainland China. Choosing a big bid from a TV partner that hasn’t launched a new subscription channel yet over a joint venture run a two media giants with vast experience caused significant brand damage in China to big Premier League clubs such as Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea.

          The Premier League now conducts the sale of international media rights entirely in house. The Premier League knows that some of the agencies that it used to deal with are not exactly honest or transparent.

  35. olivert says:

    In contrast to the domestic leagues (and Premier League before the WinTV fiasco in China), UEFA requires bidders to submit in writing which channels and how many households the channels will reach before accepting bids.

    When ESPN, Inc. had the U.S. rights to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA required a minimum of 13 matches to be screened LIVE on a channel that reached at least a certain number of households each season. That was the reason why ESPN, Inc. had to use ESPN2 even though the boss at ESPN, Inc. during the early part of the last decade didn’t care about the product.

    When FOX outbid ESPN, Inc. for the U.S. rights, FOX and its sublicense partner Setanta Sports USA had to submit to UEFA their planned screening schedule in advance: what channels would be used and how many households each channel would clear. Any changes to the screening schedule had to be submitted to UEFA in writing for approval (as FOX had to do when Setanta Sports USA folded and FOX Soccer Plus launched in its place.)

    UEFA’s way of doing business prevented WinTV-style debacles from happening.

    ==

    MEDIAPRO, which handles both domestic and international video production, distribution, and licensing of media rights to La Liga, appears to me to much less transparent than either the Premier League or UEFA.

    Neither Univision Communications, Inc. nor GOLTV, Inc. are happy with MEDIAPRO for the way they handled the sale of media rights to La Liga in the U.S. according to multiple sources.

    Interesting to see a MEDIAPRO subsidiary in South Florida (USA) now advising Al Jazeera in starting up a Spanish-language sports channel for the U.S. Hispanic market. The same thing happened 10 years ago with GOLTV, Inc.

    • Paul says:

      You’re telling us that about UEFA why?

      • olivert says:

        To make sure that U.S. readers understand that UEFA would not have allowed the likes of Al Jazeera bid for the U.S. rights to UEFA events without launching a TV network in the U.S. first.

        Those who believe that FOX Soccer would be useless without the Premier League are running around like headless chicken.

        FOX Soccer will survive with UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League through May 2015 and Old Firm Derbies through May 2014 even if FOX Soccer were to lose the Premier League after May 2013. FOX Soccer will be around for FIFA World Cup 2018, guaranteed. NewsCorp will keep FOX Soccer running because of FIFA World Cup 2018, the only product that will allow FOX Soccer to escape the sports tier and move into the expanded basic tier.

        3 out of the “big 4″ Premier League clubs are owned by AMERICANS with interest in other American professional sports. The Glazer Family owns Man Utd and the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Stanley Kroenke owns Arsenal FC, the NFL St. Louis Rams, the NBA Denver Nuggets, the NHL Colorado Avalanche; and MLS Colorado Rapids; John W. Henry’s Fenway Sports Group owns Liverpool FC, the MLB Boston Red Sox, and NASCAR’s Roush-Fenway Racing.

        They know what is at stake here.

        Taking the monster bid for U.S. rights to the Premier League from a company with no sports TV presence in the U.S., if the bid were permitted, has significant risk of “brand suicide”.

        • Yespage says:

          Not exactly worried if FSC survives without the EPL. We want to be able to watch the EPL, wherever it is shown.

        • Paul says:

          If Al Jazeera bid enough money then UEFA would happily give them US rights. None of this ‘inform us in writing nonsense’. Just like when they ended up awarding both Champions League AND Europa League to Al Jazeera in France when they still don’t have any channels. Would love to see what they informed UEFA of in writing for their bid ‘we don’t have any channels and currently have 0 reach… But here’s some cold hard money straight up… We’ll have channels up in time’… Just like anybody else, UEFA is all about the money!

  36. DoublePivot says:

    Seems to me that FSC probably let Italy go as it has little value to them. Germany is starting to be a more lucrative league and I could see them bidding on that to go along with the EPL.

    • olivert says:

      GOLTV, Inc. has already secured the U.S. media rights to the Bundesliga for the 2012-2015 seasons.

      ESPN, Inc. will be the sublicensee again.

      GOLTV and ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes will alternate picks again: one company will have picks 1 and 4 and the other company will have picks 2 and 3.

      That means Bayern Munich, the only brand with any value in the U.S., will be on GOLTV every other week and on ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes every other week.

  37. The Gaffer says:

    If anyone is interested, here’s a TV clip from an advert that Al Jazeera Sports Network did to promote their coverage of Serie A on its network:

    http://www.behance.net/gallery/Al-Jazeera-Sports-Channel/3337689

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  38. Andre says:

    Germany will get a fourth Champion’s League spot beginning this fall and Italy will lose one.

    As an Inter fan living in the US I am a little bummed FSC will lose Serie A only because we still don’t know where Al Jaz will be available.

    For what it is worth the only time I watched football on Al Jazeera was a South American qualifier last fall streaming live and I was pretty impressed. High quality with very good English commentators.

  39. The Gaffer says:

    Here’s a link so you can watch Al Jazeera English, their 24 hour news channel. It’s not their sports network, but it’ll give you a small taste of what Al Jazeera programming looks like:

    http://www.livestation.com/aljazeera-english

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  40. pedro says:

    I am a european football (american soccer) fan, that always watch the games via Comcast. Now the
    La Liga games just started and here I am without being abgle to enjoy them. I can not comprehend why a company of this magnitude, did not do a market analysis before they made an investment??? We want GOL Tv to keep watching the games, or AZ to realize and understand WHAT US custtomers really want!!!!

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