Jul 012013
 

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……

Jun 042013
 

Middle East football fans face missing the kick-off to the English Premier League (EPL) football in August as negotiations over broadcast rights drag on, a Dubai-based TV operator has warned. Broadcast rights for the Middle East are still undecided, amid a deadlock over fees to air EPL games.

This means that – with just three months to go until the start of the next season – fans of teams such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have no idea how they will be able to watch the games in this region.

Regional television rights to EPL games were reportedly acquired in January by media broker MP & Silva, which plans to resell them to one or more broadcasters across 23 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

But despite rumors to the contrary, MP & Silva is yet to strike a deal – and the rights allocation is now running into extra time.

Negotiations have been complicated by a backlash among regional broadcasters against the soaring cost of the rights, which fetched $360 million for the 2010-2013 seasons – a threefold increase on the previous three years.

That comes despite media speculation that the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Sports had won rights to carry the EPL games exclusively on its network.

Zouein played down fears that the late allocation of the rights would mean football fans would miss the start of the season.

He said MP & Silva was confident of striking a deal “at the right time”, and insisted that would leave enough time for successful bidders to finalize the broadcast logistics, along with the marketing and sale of EPL packages to consumers.

The executive confirmed that MP & Silva had “approached all potential broadcasters” in the region about the potential acquisition of the rights.

These include Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) – the current holder of the EPL broadcast rights – along with Al Jazeera and OSN.

Others include Dubai TV – which is owned by the government-run Dubai Media Incorporated – along with Sharjah TV, as well as networks in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. “Our policy is to talk to everyone,” Zouein said.

OSN held the rights during the 2007-2010 seasons of the football tournament, for which it paid a reported $120 million.

The rights to the next three seasons were sold to Abu Dhabi-government owned ADM for almost $360 million, according to several industry sources with knowledge of the deal. That did not make for a profitable business given that ADM’s pay-TV subscriber base is below 350,000, according to several industry sources.

MP & Silva is said to have paid around $300 million for the rights, although Zouein said he did not know the exact figure.

That deal was part of a haul of global rights sales that is expected to bring the EPL a windfall of more than $7.9 billion for the 2013-2016 seasons.

Dec 122012
 

England’s Premier League (EPL) soccer administrators are not yet ready to award the TV rights for the important Middle East and North Africa market.

A decision was originally expected last September.

The new rights cover the 2013 – 2016 seasons.

The rights are currently held by Abu Dhabi Media and used on its Abu Dhabi TV Network (AD-TV). AD-TV also holds the rights to Formula 1 races and Wimbledon tennis.   Locally, the consensus is that AD-TV paid around $100 million annually for the EPL rights, and few doubt that the next three years will cost more.

An EPL spokesman said there was no rush to conclude a deal, although the Tender document has been issued to all likely bidders. The EPL said there would be no decision this side of the holiday season.

Other bidders are likely to ensure the EPL rights represent a maximum income for the England Football Association, with Al Jazeera Sports a likely bidder. Some local observers suggest that Abu Dhabi and Al Jazeera might be considering a joint bid for the rights. Other contenders could include a revitalised Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), while there are any number of vanity players who could enter the market.