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Salt Lake's owner Checketts doesn't get GolTV
by Ridge Mahoney, June 27th, 2007 8:49AM
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Majority ownership in GolTV will not become part of Real Salt Lake operator-investor Dave Checketts' sports and entertainment empire.
His bid to acquire 80 percent of the dual-language channel through his company SCP Properties for $200 million was reported in March. Almost immediately came word that the four MLS broadcast partners had objected to the deal and it could violate provisions of a non-compete agreement that binds the league's operator-investors to domestic soccer properties owned or marketed by the league's marketing arm, SUM, unless special approval is granted by the Board of Governors.

"That deal will never happen," said a high-ranking executive in March. "The partners won't allow it."

Those properties include the SuperLiga and Interliga tournaments, as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup marketing, sponsorship and broadcast rights.

SUM was formed in 2001 to acquire the 2002 and 2006 World Cup U.S. English-language TV rights and to exploit inroads AEG had made to acquire rights to domestic matches played by the Mexican national team.

According to another source, the possibility that SUM could negotiate a share of the SCP investment was never seriously discussed.

SCP executive Chris Bevilacqua downplayed the alleged conflict.

"Sometimes, for complicated reasons, transactions don't close and this is one of those cases," the Sports Business Journal quoted Bevilacqua. "There were some differences and we couldn't close the gap."

The deal would have cost Checketts about 10 times the annual broadcast rights fees being paid to MLS by ESPN/ABC, Fox Soccer Channel, Univision, and HDNet. Those are reportedly worth about $20 million per year.



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