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ESPN And SBS Beat Fox To Champions League Rights Down Under


The past several months have been a game of cat and mouse for Fox and ESPN. This year has already seen Fox beat ESPN to the UEFA Champions League TV rights in the United States, Central America and South America. Now, ESPN along with SBS have acquired the TV rights in Australia to the Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup

According to The Australian, it’s not known whether Fox tendered a bid for the Australian rights. But whether they did or not, ESPN’s coup — alongside SBS — sends a strong message to Fox that the Bristol, Connecticut-based company means business.

While the Premier League TV rights in the United Kingdom were won by Sky Sports and Setanta for seasons 2010-2013, the TV rights for the United States, Australia and other countries around the globe have yet to be finalized. The next few months will determine whether ESPN is a player in the soccer landscape or not.

“The joint broadcast deal with SBS sees the US-based subscription channel hold exclusive first rights to games, while no one game will be broadcast concurrently on SBS and ESPN, as has happened this year,” reports The Australian.

SBS will broadcast a live game each match day and double-header matches during AEST on its primary, SBS One, platform with complimentary coverage on SBS Two.

SBS will share the broadcast rights with ESPN, and will collaborate to provide viewers with a greater choice in the pre-finals match weeks, by not broadcasting the same match as the pay-tv network simultaneously.

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  1. thinga87

    May 19, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Bad news…
    ESPN Australia is a joke and the quality of their transmission (pictures/audio) is terrible (as is Setanta). At least SBS will still have some games to show, let’s hope they don’t always get the short end of the fixtures though.
    Hopefully, given how much promotion FoxSports does with it’s EPL coverage, that ESPN (or even ONE) don’t get their grubby hands on that diamond – it’s fantastic being able to watch almost all ten games each weekend live. (Some weekends it is all ten)

    • Kev

      October 1, 2009 at 1:33 am

      So why not give to a FTA network so everyone can watch, SBS would be perfectly placed to do this, they have less ads and would extend the reach of the Premier League to more than 30% of the population (this is the current reach of subscription TV in Australia). The same could be said for the A-league, this should be screened on ONE HD enabling the national soccer league to be shown to all, not just to those who can afford it.

  2. john james

    May 18, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Just wanted to say that recently ESPN has taken interest in Australia. In College basketball there is a conference, the WCC that contains teams from the west coast, and many of these teams best players are from Australia. i.e. Patty Mills from st marys. Maybe the success of college basketball via espn in australia has led espn to believe they could get other sports in australia too.

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