All eyes on Al Jazeera as Premier League floats tender

All eyes on Al Jazeera as Premier League floats tender

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MUMBAI: The broadcast rights of the lucrative Premier League championship for the local UK market are up for grabs with the availability of Invitati on to Tender (ITT) spanning seasons 2013 through to 2016.

The broadcast rights comprises two packages: live rights to a total of 154 matches - split into seven packages; and a free-to-air highlights package - including ?catch-up? rights.

The live rights consist of five packages of 26 matches and two packages of 12 matches with no single buyer allowed to acquire more than 116 matches.

The extra 16 live games comes as matches are moved away from Saturday 15:00 kick-off times, due to Europa League involvement or police advice. No 15:00 kick-offs can be shown live.

?This creates a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3 pm ?closed window? and minimising further displacement of Premier League fixtures,? the statement read.

Under the existing contract 138 games are telecast with 115 matches being broadcast on Sky Sports each season, while ESPN shows the remaining 23 games. The current agreements with Sky and ESPN are worth ?1.78 billion effective 2013.

The Premier League will conduct a separate sales process for other packages described in the ITT which includes two "Near Live" long form packages each containing 226 matches; one for linear and the other for on-demand exploitation; and an Internet-based Clips package for all 380 matches.

Both the Live and "Near Live" packages will be available for exploitation on a technology neutral basis, the statement said.

Qatari-based Al Jazeera, which had recently ventured into sports broadcasting segment with the launch of its channel beIN Sports in France, is widely expected to bid aggressively for the rights as part of its ambitions to become a global player.

Eurosport, however, suggested last week that these rumours might just be a good marketing ploy by the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has reportedly announced the launch of its new sport channel, beIN Sports, in the USA this August. It will cover La Liga from Spain, Serie A from Italy and of Ligue 1 from France.

?Backed by the resources of Qatar Media Corporation and the global expertise of Mediapro, beIN Sports will provide soccer fanatics in the USA with an experience that is unmatched by any rival,? the company claims.

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