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Premier League TV Rights Battle Could Impact Growth Of Soccer In USA

fox soccer bein sport logos Premier League TV Rights Battle Could Impact Growth Of Soccer In USA

By this Friday, several media corporations will have submitted their final bids for the US media rights to the 2013-16 Premier League seasons. To many, it may seem just like any other TV rights auction, but this one could have a major impact not only on the growth of the Premier League but also the rise in popularity of soccer in the United States.

Being the most popular English-language soccer league in the United States, the Premier League has enjoyed tremendous growth during the last five years. TV ratings have never been higher. The summer tours by English teams on American soil have never been more popular. Social media has been eating it up, and even the acronym EPL has become du jour in some circles.

All of the success and growth, however, could come to an abrupt halt next August. Depending on who wins the US media rights auction, our dependable access to the Premier League could come to an end. If beIN SPORT wins the rights, there’s no guarantee that every match will be available, and there’s no guarantee that every consumer will be able to access it via their TV provider (although beIN SPORT is working hard to negotiate and expand its distribution). At the same time, there are still plenty of question marks about the future of FOX Soccer with the much discussed FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 being rumored as future networks to replace FOX’s niche soccer and racing channels.

At the same time, depending on how much the winning bidder will pay for the rights, there’s the likelihood that we, as consumers, may end up paying more for the access to watch games beginning next season.

With so much riding on the line, we should anticipate that change is on the horizon — whether it’s the status quo or a new Premier League rights owner.

If FOX Soccer does lose the rights to the Premier League, you’re left with a network who has achieved most of its success as a direct result of being a go-to destination for Premier League followers in the United States. Without the Premier League, there’s little reason for FOX Soccer to exist as a solitary soccer network except for occasional mid-week Champions League and Europa League matches. With the Premier League for 2013-16, FOX Soccer would be well positioned to continue as THE soccer network in the United States, leading perfectly into the 2016 Women’s World Cup and building up to the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments, which FOX has the rights to.

Just as La Liga and Serie A have suffered a blow considering that its matches this season are not as accessible as in previous years, the Premier League could suffer the same fate beginning next season. Love them or hate them, FOX Soccer has raised the bar with its coverage of the Premier League, and has brought the game into the homes of 1 million+ more people thanks to its coverage on the free-to-air network alongside, gulp, its NFL coverage. That’s something that beIN SPORT cannot come close to achieving.

If beIN SPORT does acquire the rights to the Premier League in years 2013-16, it will give Major League Soccer (MLS) an advantage in the TV ratings war. Up until now, MLS has been suffering with low TV ratings on NBC Sports Network and the free-to-air NBC. But if the EPL gets acquired by beIN SPORT, MLS will certainly have a distinct advantage over the EPL nationwide when it comes to attracting the mainstream viewer. Whether they’ll tune in to MLS or not is entirely another matter.

So we sit at a crossroads where the future fate of the Premier League will decided by the close of business on Friday. I’m leaning to a FOX Soccer-ESPN bid, but the reality is that if beIN SPORT or another network acquired the rights, it would be a gamechanger for me and a lot of hardcore soccer fans. Seeing La Liga and Serie A move to beIN SPORT isn’t enough to convince me to change from Comcast to DirecTV. But if the Premier League rights were acquired by beIN SPORT, I would make the switch — even though there are several reasons why I’ve remained with Comcast for so long. While I’m sure some (or many) of you hardcore soccer fans would feel the same way, the biggest loss for Premier League soccer in the United States (if beIN SPORT acquired the rights) would be the casual fan. This would stem the growth of the league in the United States, and as a result of the league being hands-down the most entertaining and accessible in the world, I believe it would slow down the popularity of the sport of soccer in this country.

The bidding that concludes this Friday is that important. Let’s hope that whatever happens that it is for the betterment of the Premier League viewing experience in the United States of America. We’ve had it good for so long. Let’s hope it continues that way.

This entry was posted in beIN SPORT, ESPN, FOX Soccer, 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 →

57 Responses to Premier League TV Rights Battle Could Impact Growth Of Soccer In USA

  1. coloneldickweed says:

    2 questions

    1. Does the announcement of the winner usually come right after the deadline?

    2. Have you heard any inside info about beIn and Time Warner? Their shows showed up in my searches and some people got notices in their newspapers about the channel being added.

    beIn would need 3 or even 4 channels to be able to properly showcase the major leagues that they have the rights to. Considering we are having trouble even getting one in SD, it could take a long while.

    I did like their(beIn’s) coverage when it was available via web stream. While Fox Soccer is killer with showing the actual match, their pundits and match coverage are severely lacking. Feels nitpicky with the potential for the pitfalls with this winning bidder, though!

    • The Gaffer says:

      1. Usually not. Usually the sublicensing deals are done after the rights are awarded, so when all of that is wrapped up by the legal departments, then the PR departments will get the word out.

      2. Time Warner in NYC should have beIN SPORT by the end of the month, while Brighthouse in Tampa should be adding beIN SPORT in the next 1-2 months.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • La Liga Fan says:

        do you know if TWC Charlotte is also adding bein sports, i keep calling them and they give me the run around, thanks

    • Jose hernandez says:

      What’s going with cablevision negotiation , is BEIN SPORT will be available in cablevision. (Long island cablevision) As well , how soon?
      Jose hernandez

  2. Rob says:

    Why would you have to switch off Comcast? They came to a rights deal with beIN back in late August…

  3. Guy says:

    If you’re on Comcast you already have beIN SPORT. Why would you need to switch to anyone else??

    beIN SPORT currently already has DirecTV and Dish plus Comcast, the largest cable provider. That’s 55 million subscribers. If/when they add TimeWarner (15 million more) they will have the country blanketed. Only the minnows would remain, who would fall in line pretty readily.

    I don’t know how the bidding will turn out, but I’m certainly not worried about it and I’m with TimeWarner.

    Life will go on and the league will prosper. As Paul pointed out in another thread, like it or not, the really big bucks for the EPL are in Asia not the US.

    • The Gaffer says:

      beIN SPORT isn’t on my local Comcast. The rollout is being done slowly. I’m hoping for it by early 2013, but that’s just wishful thinking.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Pete says:

        My comment is what I think is best for the growth of soccer in the US.

        Fox has the NFL and has shown that they are unwilling to broadcast live games on Fox National.

        My thought is that BEIN or Fox Soccer will end up with the rights. Either way, neither have the ability to have a national audience watch an EPL match.

        American audiences are lazy. They aren’t going to search over eight Fox channels or four BEIN channels to watch soccer. While having to pay extra for one or both (or fight with their cable companies to carry the channels).

        Having soccer on a national network is the only answer for soccer’s growth in the states. But more than likely that isn’t going to happen.

  4. Pete says:

    The best answer for “the growth of soccer” in America would be for NBC to get the rights to the Premier League. No cable channel has the ability to reach an audience as large as one of the major networks. And being that NBC only has Notre Dame college football and Sunday Night Football as their impact sports, they would be able to put valuable time and money into marketing the Premier League to an American audience. The production value alone would dwarf BEIN or Fox Soccer.

    • The Gaffer says:

      It’s unlikely to happen based on (1) NBC acquiring the rights to Formula 1, which would clash with many EPL games, and (2) NBC put in a low bid in the first round of bidding, so they not be willing to pony up the money to win the rights.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Guy says:

      Just my opinion, but I don’t think NBC would be looking to put the EPL on its flagship channel. It is more likely that it would go to NBC Sports Network, which is almost invisible.

      At any rate, I don’t think they are serious.

  5. espnjason says:

    Between the main Fox network; Fox Sports Net; and soon to be rebranded Fuel and Speed for Fox Sports 1 and 2 on top of Fox Soccer; Fox Sports has the means to broadcast almost all 380 EPL matches live.

    Would the EPL brass realize it? I don’t know nor do I know of anyone who does.

    While beIN Sport is a decent upstart channel, it already has its hands full with the conflicting live matches between La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A, and the English Championship. beIN sport will need at least two more channels to regain a grip on the live broadcast schedules.

    It is no use plunking eight figures for the rights to one league if one will not make good on their investment. They may do a heck of a job with La Liga (mainly because of their match scheduling procedure), but Serie A fans have an entirely different opinion on beIN Sport. I suspect the outcries will amplify if beIN obtains the upcoming EPL rights.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      beIN SPORT can always dump another $30 million in launch fees to buy 2 more channel slots on DIRECTV, one of which can be the 24/7 PLTV service with no additional production necessary.

      The bottom line: if Richard Scudamore is willing to conduct “private banking” in Liechtenstein with Youssef and Nasser, then there is nothing FOX Sports or ESPN can do.

      Everyone knows by now that beIN SPORT can afford to pay more for U.S. rights to EPL than ESPN can pay for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

      Canada is the more interesting part of the story because the CRTC is holding up the TeleLatino/beIN SPORT deal as the CRTC tries to get to the bottom of all the alleged “private banking” arrangements.

      No doubt in anyone’s mind that Rogers Media is pushing the CRTC to drag out the investigation so that beIN SPORT will have to eat the Canadian TV rights to EPL without the means to distribute EPL on Canadian TV.

      • Kobashi says:

        What are your thoughts on the IMG bid and how do you think they would slice up the rights? Would the Premier League Network which they operate be included in the deal?

        I really hope that Time Warner/Brightouse goes all in as a partner w/beIN if everything we read is true that there are legal notices saying beIN will launch in November. What I mean by all in is offering both the English and Spanish feeds in HD for customers that have the Sports Pass and the space for overflow channels if beIN launches a couple which given all of the inventory they own could be come a necessity.

  6. Fog says:

    I am hoping that with the loss of Formula One (Fox – Speed) that Fox will put the allocated F1 rights money toward the EPL rights bid. That money plus the ESPN sub-leasing tie will hopefully be enough to offset the tons of money backing beIN.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      If beIN SPORT really wants EPL (read: Richard Scudamore is willing to conduct “private banking” in Liechtenstein with Youssef and Nasser), then beIN SPORT can bid $500 million to blow FOX and ESPN away.

      $500 million is “chump change” for the Sheik, who can easily make $6 billion in PASSIVE interest and dividend income each year.

      FOX Soccer’s absolute upper limit for its EPL bid, assuming that FOX Soccer were willing to invest every penny in leftover subscriber fee after it pays UEFA for the Champions League rights, is around $450 million over 3 seasons.

      • Tim says:

        Jesus, more libelous allegations from the demented mind of Oliver.
        Gaffer, you might want to keep a tight reign on Ollie. His off the rails allegations that BeIn is bribing league officials in exchange for rights awards led to his banning on another high profile Soccer forum.

      • Paul says:

        Not sure if you realise the severity of your comment there or not but suggesting that the Premier League would be willing to conduct ‘private banking’ is quite a damning remark! The tender process is highly regulated and highest bidder wins. Case closed. If beIN Sport want the Premier League then they’ll get it. If Fox want to retain it then they have to cough up over the odds and hope it’s more than beIN put forward in the blind auction.

        Any suggestion of ‘private banking’ is WAY off the mark.

        • Oliver Tse says:

          beIN SPORT LLC will bid only on the condition that the rightsholder or broker will conduct “private banking” with Youssef and Nasser in Liechtenstein.

          No “private banking”, no bid.

          The Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) does not do “private banking” deals, so Youssef and Nasser took their business elsewhere.

          • Paul says:

            You really don’t seem to get the accusations you’re making and how serious they are. You seem to make these fairytale notions up in your own head.

            For anybody else reading this, as previously stated, the tender process is a very heavily regulated process and ‘private banking’ is not on the agenda as Oliver would like to believe. He has his libellous comments… everybody else has their own normal comments.

  7. Reid says:

    As I’ve said in many other posts. The number 1 deciding factor for me is streaming availability.

    Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to afford bloated cable or satellite packages. I believe providing streaming access will continue to become a larger focus and beIN has already said this is not their focus.

    Their business model is antiquated and as consumers, we need to demand more from providers. If beIN gets the rights, I’m end my subscription to Fox Soccer 2go and just stream everything.

  8. Eric says:

    1) I’m surprised BeIn Sports isn’t in more cities already, especially since I have coverage in Blacksburg, VA. I figured Comcast rolled out the channel nationally.
    2) I have nothing against BeIn Sports except for that I have yet to watch a game in English(which is most likely because I have only watched games from non-English speaking countries). The amount of games they have is great right now. If they get the EPL will they even be able to show EPL games every Saturday, though? La Liga and Serie A will have games that can compete against the EPL. Those leagues may only have, between the two of them, 6 or 7 teams that draw interest in the US, but those games may get chosen over an EPL match. I don’t want to have to watch even more Everton games online than I already have to . I know EFC will not get any games on BeIn outside of the Merseyside Derby, if we’re competing against La Liga and Serie A matches.
    3) I will be praying that FOX-ESPN win the bid. If its true about Fox 1 and Fox 2, having multiple 10 o clock games on TV at the same time would be amazing. Fox Soccer already has the presence in US homes that can continue to raise interest for soccer and the EPL. I am hoping Fox sees the importance of this because their World Cup rights for 2018 and 2022 will rely on the growth of the game in the US.

  9. Marc L says:

    A lot of people say the EPL is in it only for the top bid and for the top dollar. Also, that no one really cares about the US market. That Asia and Africa are more important.

    Really? 300 million people and the richest country on earth? And the only place where there is potential for MEANINGFUL growth in interest in the sport? Because in Asia and Africa and all these other places the interest is already there. With the possible exception of Japan, Football is ALREADY the favorite sport everywhere other than the US.

    Plus, how many people in China, with 1/8th the US GDP, are going to be shilling out 80 bucks for each of 3 shirts for their favorite club every year? A lot, sure, but it could never be comparable to all those kids buying (grrr) United away kits at their local Foot Locker.

    Whatever else one can say about the EPL ownership, they are not stupid and are not bad businessmen. I just cannot buy into the notion that a Fox bid of X loses to BeIn bidding x plus one.

    So everyone who worries about BeIn getting that deal probably shouldn’t worry as much as it seems a lot of people are. Could it happen? Of course. But I would be surprised. It just would not fit with everything I know about business and markets and the evaluation of real upside growth potential.

    • Paul says:

      You answered your own question. The huge fan base in Asia is already in place and takes no further work. There is no intention to grow the game in the US. People seem to be blurring the lines as to why Fox occasionally show games on their national network – it’s nothing to do with the Premier League and growing the game – it’s so Fox can lure people in to their own net and get further viewers to additional coverage on Fox Soccer and (hopefully) in turn get more subscribers to Fox Soccer Plus etc. That’s the only business logic behind it.

      The Premier League will make over £3 billion from the UK alone for just 154 live TV matches. They’ll also net a fortune from the combined TV deals around the world. They really have no need to flog a dead horse in trying to make football popular in America because it will never ever come close to the likes of the NFL in your own market.

      You need to buy into the notion of how the bids work because these days it’s a blind auction. Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the highest bidder will win.

  10. Dust says:

    “If beIN SPORT does acquire the rights to the Premier League in years 2013-16, it will give Major League Soccer (MLS) an advantage in the TV ratings war.”

    What’s the facts behind the statement above based off?
    NBC has been absolutely awfull at promoting mls, it has no clue how to reach football fans.

    If any other investments the group makes are anything to go by then they will be great.

    Fix soccer is positioned has changed it was all football to America with American perspective (American hosts).

    It isn’t the one stop shop for all football now. So from a premier league product perspective, I could care less about the American lens.

    Garyliniker is doing UEFA champions league analysis for the al jazzera sports network around the world.

    I would be ABSOLUTELY. Find with bein winning for 2013 and them launching a premier league specific channel and filling it with European / uk based talent all shot in the uk.

    There is plenty if time for them to launch a channel and use their current talent.

    Unless epl fans are so asdicted to tweeting goals on Sunday for their connection.

    I’m sure BEIN. could produce original programming with the same interactivity of the #banter zone.

    There was a band in the 80′s the Cocteau Twins, I would prefer them give analysis than the current new millennium contradiction twins on GOS.

    Bring on the change! Don’t be afraid!

    • Dust says:

      So close and yet so far Siri!

    • Fog says:

      @Dust “Bring on change!”

      When beIN won the rights to La Liga, effectively dooming GolTV, who were the first on-air hires and where did they come from? Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson from GolTV.

      What makes you so sure that if they outbid Fox and Stone, Wynalda and co. don’t end up on beIN?

      I don’t believe that “just getting the UK feed and or presenter” is as simple as it sounds…or else I am sure that it would have been done before. And even if they imported UK talent we could get more Arlo White’s and Piers Morgan’s. For every “quality” UK presenter there is one of those clowns.

      • dust says:

        I do not think that given al jazzera sports resources and current programming that they would find it difficult to create a bpl channel and use uk talent.

        They were able to get Gary Lineker, the face (and ears) of the uk’s most popular football highlight show of the past 50 years BBC’s MOTD to do Al Jazzera.

        I would not doubt they would take the BPL more seriously than the italian and spanish leagues, and just use the same feeds they do for the rest of the world, Lineker, Ray Wilkins, Venebles, Kevin Keegan, Ruud, all do regular analysis on ALJSports +3.

        They could surprise all and steal Rebecca Lowe to host she would absolutely school stone!

        No way would they hire the fox clowns it’s not like they are popular, even if fox do win they will look to upgrade the talent no reason to stick with barton stone and wynalda.

        Do american BPL fans really give a damn about the BPL from american perspective? really? I dont think so….

        I think MLS through american pundits makes sense, but if you had a channel that had the quality of production that al jazzera +3 champions league coverage has (i’m sure you can find a stream on the net) you would see what I mean.

        You mention Ray Hudsonand I agree, the Charlie Stillitano & Ray Hudson on Siriusxmfc on 94 are terrible. 1 person who may be able to make the jump to TV is John Harks from the very brief encounters I’ve had with “counter attack” on the same channel he seems thoughtful and knowledgable.

        I know power thru fear is a big motivator in the US but, to say fox loosing it would put the BPL in a situation where MLS would be more popular as a result is just not true at all.

        Competition will bread a better product from whoever wins–yes even from Fox.

        (fingers crossed Rebecca Lowe finds her way to be host out here on any of the stations)

        • Fog says:

          I agree on Rebecca Lowe. Unfortunately, she was not well received when ESPN tried her as a US studio host when they first started broadcasting the EPL.

          I think that perception changed somewhat with the excellent work she did at last summer’s Women’s World Cup.

          I prefer her to any of the US based studio talking heads on Fox, beIN, NBC or ESPN.

          If beIN would give us a “UK” production and cover all of the matches…I’m allIN.

          • The Gaffer says:

            Fog, I disagree. Rebecca Lowe presented a few Premier League matches on Saturday mornings, but she lives and works in the UK. And in her current role for ESPN in the UK, she’s doing what she enjoys doing — interviewing players, being on the touchlines and appearing on ESPN shows. There’s far more work for her there than just a Saturday morning presenter slot.

            I thought she was very well received when she was on US TV.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

      • Oliver Tse says:

        On the contrary, the Premier League offers a 24/7 PLTV service with TV programming around the clock, 100% in English, to our rightsholders around the world at a reasonable licensing fee.

  11. CTBlues says:

    I think it would be pretty funny if Discovery came out of left field and won the rights and ended up showing them on BBC America and Velocity. Hey maybe would would get match of the day then in the US.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      The Football Association Premier League Ltd. welcomes bids from all interested parties for the live matches package of all 380 matches across 5 regions in the Americas: 1) Canada, 2) USA including Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Guam, 3) non-Spanish-speaking countries the Caribbean, Belize, Guyana, and Surinam (excluding Spanish-language rights in the Dominican Republic), 4) Spanish-speaking Latin America including Spanish-language rights in the Dominican Republic, and 5) Brazil.

      The 2nd round deadline for all bids is Friday 26th October at 1600 London time.

  12. dano328 says:

    Of course the clubs care about American viewership. They know that a Euro export is competing with the mainstream American sports and wouldn’t want to see this go backwards. So I think the clubs do care that whoever wins can show the games. RM & Barca are not thrilled their American fanbases are being shut out. I went to a sports bar for El Classico and couldn’t get a seat. That crowd would have been much smaller if the games were still on GolTV or Fox.

    I resent beIN for throwing money around without the infrastructure to support their investment. Someone from that company is reading this. Did you realize what you took from American consumers with this wasteful investment? I know you don’t care about making a profit but you can brag about the expensive rights you own. You can undo some of this resentment many have towards you buy offering a paid stream. This can tied us over while you negotiate with Time Warner, who just added the NFL network after six years of haggling. Please do something to mitigate the harm you have done in this country to Soccer fans.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      ESPN and FOX are both in the media business with public shareholders who demand a reasonable return on investment.

      On the contrary, the executives running beIN SPORT are in the “private banking” business: the more money Sheik Al-Thani spends on sports rights, the more “private banking” Youssef and Nasser can conduct with the prince of Liechtenstein.

    • Charles Boyer says:

      Harm? It’s a two way street: they certainly want carriage on the cable networks and it takes some time for that to be worked out with the various cable companies.

      In the meantime, one can switch their business to DBS and have it now. I’ve had BeIn from Day One and have enjoyed their coverage as a DirecTV subscriber.

  13. Philswin08 says:

    It all comes down to streaming for me. If beIN comes up with something like Foxsoccer2go then I’ll have less of a problem with them winning. With ESPN3 and Foxsoccer2go a cable subscription is not nescessary for me to get all the soccer I can possibly have time to watch. beIN could be the end of watching the EPL for a lot of Americans. I hope the EPL is smart enough to see that.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Phils, beIN SPORT is not going to offer a stand-alone streaming package. Broadband options will only be available to satellite/cable subscribers who already get beIN SPORT.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Correct. Authenticated access to Internet streaming is written into the contracts. Only cable and satellite subscribers to beIN SPORT HD and beIN SPORT en Espanol will have access to streaming.

      • Philswin08 says:

        Well then it’s Fox or nothing for me. As much as I love the EPL I’m not getting an $80-100/month cable package to have less acess to games than by paying $19.99 to Foxsoccer2go. My 10year old soccer mad daughter will be crushed too! The 7:30 am ESPN game is how we kick off her day before her youth games start.

  14. Brian Hamilton says:

    For those of you who have Verizon and like to watch Serie A, you can still see up to 4 matches a week on RAI Italia. The picture is SD, languge is italian, and the cost is like $12/month but it is better than nothing.

  15. Tom says:

    Does anyone know if Verizon will eventually add up Bein Sport? and more importanlty, when??

  16. Stephen says:

    I’ll breath a big sigh of relief if Fox/ESPN win. If not I’ll have to bite the bullet and switch from Comcast to DirectTV. As it is I’m p—– off I lost the ability to watch my favorite club Inter.

  17. mark says:

    If BeIn doesn’t offer a stand-alone subscription-based streaming package, like Fox’s foxsoccer2go, then I don’t see how they can expect to reach the viewership they would need to recoup the cost of their bid. Lots of people won’t have access to BeIn as many cable providers aren’t interested in carrying it.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      Cable ops will carry beIN SPORT HD after they receive a launch fee.

      beIN SPORT is putting too much money on the table for the Cable ops to refuse.

      DIRECTV got paid $30 million for carrying beIN SPORT HD and beIN SPORT en Espanol. One would expect DIRECTV to collect another $30 million if beIN SPORT 3 and beIN SPORT 4 were to launch.

      • Kobashi says:

        Hopefully, the checks clear to Time Warner/Brighthouse on 11/1 as I hate missing out on Barca and Real Madrid games.

  18. David says:

    I do think Fox will retain – Fox just has too much to lose by not getting them, because they’ve got so much invested already between Champions League/Europa League/World Cup rights…

  19. dano328 says:

    Is Fox being a brother to Sky an advantage in these negotiations? Hope so, because as Oliver says Al Jazzera doesn’t have to make money. They can outbid Murdock if they want. The EPL hopefully sees that distribution wise beIN can’t match Fox Soccer. Less games will be seen & less jersey’s will be sold. The only way beIN can catch up infrastructure wise would be to buy Fox Soccer as well. Their is also the prejudice that an Al Jazzera station would have to overcome by the far right in America. We don’t want Rush having this conversation.

    • Paul says:

      Fox being related to Sky has no bearing at all. Distribution plays no part in it! There is no stipulation in the tender document… it’s highest bidder wins! They don’t even have a distribution clause in the domestic tender. As far as I’m aware, the only place they’ve ever made a stipulation with regards distribution is in Asia.
      Less games may be seen (initially) but more money will be made for the 2013-16 period and that is the bottom line. We’re not talking about a random middle of the road league, we’re talking about the Premier League… if everybody’s comments on how it’s the biggest league going are true then what are you all so worried about? If beIN Sport do win the rights to it then they’ll surely amass greater distribution of their channel. I really don’t see the big deal.

      Here in the UK we’ve got no idea how BT Vision will be going about business with their own channel but it’s not an issue because it’ll get sorted. Just sit tight and what will be will be. beIN Sport are not going to spend millions on the league football crown jewel to then do nothing with it. At the moment they’ve got relatively niche product to make people care… Premier League in that cannon is a very different proposition.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Correct.

        There are no stipulations in the ITT regarding distribution to a minimum number of households in any of the 5 regions in the Americas.

        Any entity can bid for the exclusive video rights to a single package of all 380 live matches.

        The 5 regions are:

        1. Canada (all languages)

        2. USA including Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Guam (all languages; video rights in Guam on a non-exclusive basis)

        3. Caribbean, Belize, Guyana, and Surinam (all languages except Spanish-language rights in the Dominican Republic; French-language rights in Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe are on a non-exclusive basis)

        4. Spanish-speaking Latin America (all languages, plus Spanish-language rights only in the Dominican Republic; English-languages rights in Belize, Guyana, and Surinam are on a non-exclusive basis)

        5. Brazil (all languages)

        2nd round bids to the attention of Richard Scudamore are due via email on Friday 26 October at 1600 London Time (1100 New York Time.)

    • Oliver Tse says:

      Anyone who has read Phil Mushnick’s columns in the New York Post should have figured out the following:

      beIN SPORT LLC will bid on products only on the condition that the broker or distributor is willing to conduct “private banking” in Liechtenstein with Youssef and Nasser.

      The Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL), which sells the rights to the Bundesliga, does not conduct “private banking”. As a result, Youssef and Nasser took their business elsewhere.

      Youssef and Nasser did business with Pitch International (English Football League Championship and English Football League Cup), Serie A (MP & Silva), La Liga (MEDIAPRO), and Ligue 1 (directly.)

      The most important thing to Youssef and Nasser is the willingness of the broker, distributor, or promoter to conduct “private banking”. That’s the reason why Youssef and Nasser are sniffing around boxing.

      As for EPL: if Scudamore wants to play everything straight, then beIN SPORT will NOT bid for the U.S. or Canadian rights. On the other hand, of Scudamore is willing to do business with Youssef and Nasser at a “private bank” in Liechtenstein, then beIN SPORT LLC will blow away FOX and ESPN in the U.S., as well as Rogers Media and Bell Media in Canada.

      One can Rogers (and Bell) are likely doing in Canada to stop beIN SPORT LLC from buying a stake in TeleLatino Network is to use the CRTC, which launched a formal investigation 2 months ago on the proposed deal by beIN SPORT LLC to purchase a minority stake in TeleLatino Network.

      The CRTC is holding up the transaction while it investigates all the alleged “private banking” transactions that may have taken place.

  20. brn442 says:

    Well Gaffer – finally, as you’ve said – I have no idea what’s going on in serie A, because of the lack of exposure by BeIN, and I consider myself more than just a casual fan.

    Let’s cautiously assume that if BeIN were to win the rights, they will be prepared.

  21. DD says:

    While Fox Soccer is a relative niche channel, it is widely availabe and it’s not on just a sports tier on some cable providers.

    But what will really hurt mainstream support is if it’s not on ESPN. Because EPL is on ESPN about once a week, they usually include the most EPL scores on Sportcenter. And EPL highlights are usually represented on their top ten plays.

    ESPN will probably not mention the EPL as much if they don’t have the tv rights.

    • Kobashi says:

      ESPN will keep futbol on their radar till after their commitments to Euros ends which I believe is 2016. At the very least highlights will be featured through Brazil 14. Barca’s highlights from their CL game against Celtic was featured in the first 10 to 15 minutes of SportsCenter on the overnight version hosted by Stan Verette and Neil Everett late night Tuesday into Wednesday Morning.

      United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Barca, and Madrid are the only teams that get their highlights on with any regularity. That said I’m curious if futbol highlights will play a lesser role on SportsCenter once Hockey and College Hoops get going as there is only 60 minutes in a show.

      I’ve noticed a bit of social media backlash in the recent weeks about how many futbol highlights make the SC. I’ve read on various Sports Media Blogs that ESPN is thinking about shaking up SportsCenter because of lower than anticipated ratings. Most likely it will be a shake up in who hosts at what time but there could be some content tweaks.

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