AFP, Friday, January 19, 2007 4:50 PM
Due to surging demand in Asia and the Middle East, the English Premier League is set to reel in some $1.2 billion from overseas television rights over the next three years. On Thursday, the English
Football Association, which runs the 20-club league, said it had sold its broadcasting rights in 81 overseas blocs spanning 208 countries and territories for 625 million pounds, or $1.23 billion,
nearly twice as much as it currently makes overseas. Equally impressive is the $790 million the league will make from its Internet and mobile rights.
These stunning figures mean that overseas
and new media revenues now account for nearly 40 percent of the EPL's media and broadcasting rights, which collectively total $5.32 billion dollars through the 2009-10 season. Domestically (meaning
Britain and Ireland), the league's contract is worth $3.35 billion over the same period.
EPL Chief Executive Richard Scudmore attributed the massive increase in foreign earnings to the
willingness of clubs to open its doors to foreign players and ownership-particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Indeed, as we speak, Liverpool FC is set to be taken over by a satellite company of
the king of Dubai, while Everton, Manchester City and Newcastle are all in talks with foreign suitors. Scudmore said staunch competition for broadcasting rights led to markups of up to three or four
times this year's amount.
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