Tuesday, February 03, 2009
It's the day that we've all been looking forward too. That's right folks, it's time to play let's make a deal, and today I have the rights to the most popular Soccer league in the world! There are three contestants, ESPN, Setanta and BSkyB, and the going rate looks to be just over the $2 Billion mark. Via the Times Online....
The principal challenger is ESPN, with companies such as ITV unable to afford to bid, and Virgin Media, which wants to shift its focus to broadband connections for homes. ESPN is owned by Walt Disney, the US media company, and has studied a bid for 18 months, but has managed to remain coy about its final intentions.I still think it's going to be tough for ESPN to outbid Sky, but the "Leader" has been getting what they want lately. The decision could come later today, and I'll be sure to keep you posted.
ESPN's problem is that it has a relatively modest presence in the UK, and its executives know that it will have to invest considerable sums to generate profits. Broadcasting Premier League games is central to the success of a pay-television sports broadcaster, but it will then need to recruit subscribers, and there is usually a need to invest in other sports to ensure that customers have something to watch all year round.
Although ESPN is little known in the UK, it is the principal specialist sports broadcaster in the United States, and takes football seriously in that market. It hired Andy Gray to present all the Euro 2008 matches, which it aired in the US on its ESPN 2 channel, and the broadcaster has US rights to show the 2010 World Cup from South Africa.
Broadcasters square up for Premier League fight (Times Online)