It's EPL Bidding Day!

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.

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.
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.

Broadcasters square up for Premier League fight (Times Online)

Posted by Awful Announcing at 9:57 AM


Please god no don't let this happen.

Mike Georger said...
Feb 3, 2009, 10:27:00 AM  

ESPN getting majority rights I have a problem will turn into a farce.

Please let them just get a piece of the pie and not a chunk of it.

SSReporters said...
Feb 3, 2009, 10:41:00 AM  

I think it plays out like this: ESPN and Sky split up the rights. ESPN gets two weekend matches, Sky gets the rest, and the mid-week matches go to ESPN before the New Year, Sky after the New Year. They would split the New Year's Day matches equally.

Now, does ESPN try to negotiate a clause in the contract that gives them the option to choose which games they want to telecast, similar to the NFL/NBC Sunday Night Football arrangement with flex scheduling? I guarantee you they will try to work that out somehow. ESPN is not stupid- they know matches involving the big four clubs will bring in the highest ratings. Sky knows this as well, and would not give those matches up without some kind of fight.

As far as ESPN's coverage of matches, if they were to follow the production standards they use in Champions League matches and what they did with EURO 2008, then I could get behind this. Plus, the ESPN networks have a greater reach in this country than Fox Soccer Channel. If ESPN uses legit announcing talent, this could be a very good thing.

So, I'm on the fence with this one. Part of me wants more access to matches that ESPN could provide, but part of me is totally satisfied with how FSC has presented games for all these years. I will reserve judgement until this whole thing plays out.

The Genius said...
Feb 3, 2009, 4:47:00 PM  

Sky has retained four of the six packages available. There will be a second round of bidding on the remaining two.

Feb 3, 2009, 7:01:00 PM  

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