Further to our previous post (http://satandpcguy.com/blog/2013/06/middle-east-english-premier-league-broadcast-rights-update-still-no-deal/) there has still been no announcement for which broadcast company has the English Premier League broadcast rights for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
However, the long-awaited decision as to the Middle East television rights for the English Premier League (EPL) is expected to be announced this week – and not a moment too soon for football fans anxious to know how they can watch the August kick-off.
Several industry sources suggest that Al Jazeera Sport is a strong contender in bidding for the three-year EPL rights. Some sources even suggest the deal was done earlier in the year, although nothing has been confirmed.
Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), the previous rights holder, has held talks with MP & Silva, the rights company, about extending its rights deal , but it is believed that its bid is less than half the $360 million ADM paid for the rights to the 2010-2013 seasons.
Rival Al Jazeera Sport, an arm of the Qatar-based broadcaster, is tipped by some as favourite to win the regional rights to the tournament from 2013 to 2016, with one of the top media executives in the region saying categorically that “Al Jazeera has won it”.
One stumbling block to an EPL deal for Al Jazeera is the security of the network’s TV platform, according to some in the industry.
Al Jazeera’s existing pay-TV platform is “not compatible” with the anti-piracy measures required by EPL broadcasts, said one industry source. ADM and rival broadcaster OSN are believed to be the only regional players with the required levels of security on their TV platforms.
Others say that Abu Dhabi’s ownership of the EPL team Manchester City should not be overlooked in ADM’s determination to renew its rights deal.
Buying the Mena rights to the EPL may bring recognition as part of Al Jazeera’s global strategy, but whether it will also bring profits is another matter.
Rights to the tournament have soared in cost over the last decade, far outpacing potential revenues. ADM’s outlay was three times the reported $120 million paid by rival OSN, which held the EPL rights for the 2007-2010 seasons. Yet Abu Dhabi Media is said to have made a vast loss on the EPL over the last three seasons, with subscription revenues amounting to just a fraction of its outlay on the rights and production.
What this means for English Premier League viewers in Spain.
Hopefully the Al Jazeera signal will be available in Spain, on 80cm or 1m satellite dishes.
It is then a question of what the supply of the receivers and viewing cards will be like……