Premier League rights to be sold on pan-European basis: CEO

Premier League rights to be sold on pan-European basis: CEO

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MUMBAI: Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore has declared that starting 2013 the television rights deal for the popular football league could be pan-European rather than territory-to-territory basis.

The development is a result of an order by European Court of Justice last year which stated that homeowners could purchase decoders showing foreign broadcasts.

The move will have huge implications for News Corps owned British sports broadcaster BSkyB which has made a fortune out of its 20 year long partnership with the Premier League.

?We are still actually deliberating whether we should sell on a territory-by-territory basis, or whether with what?s happened [in the court ruling] with the freedom of movement it?s actually more applicable and you would actually get better protection or a better return if you sold on a pan-European basis," Scudamore told an audience of sports industry professionals.

?There?s not a decision been made yet as to whether we?re going to do a domestic deal or not,? Scudamore said. ?One of the implications of the ECJ decision is that we are still working on whether we now actually sell the rights on a pan European basis.?

The tender documents for the next round of rights bidding will be released between April and June and the league will keep its options open, Scudamore said.

According to a Bloomberg report, the English league?s current three-year U.K. contracts with Sky Sports and ESPN are valued at 1.78 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) and finish at the end of the 2012-13 season. It gets another 1.4 billion pounds from overseas sales, making it the highest grossing domestic soccer league in the world.

?We won?t set ourselves false deadlines,? Scudamore said, adding the league is talking to broadcasters across Europe to understand their ?attitudes and aptitudes for pan-European verses individual territory? sales.

Although Premier League?s financial success can be attributed to the broadcast support provided by Sky Sports, Scudamore said that relationship counts for little as the highest bidder will ultimately get the rights.

?Ultimately whatever umbilical cord there might be as an ongoing working commercial relationship gets severed as the invitation to tender gets issued. Once we?re in the process, there?s nothing they can do other than being the best bidder to win those rights," he averred.

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