Abu Dhabi TV has secured the rights to broadcast live matches from the English Premier League to football fans in the Middle East and North Africa for three consecutive seasons beginning in August 2010.
Abu Dhabi Media Company will take over from the current holders of the contract, Showtime, whose three-season contract ends in May 2010.
Showtime, which recently told Campaign magazine the EPL had made a significant contribution to its subsriber base, is believed to have bid against Al Jazeera and possibly Orbit, although the the head of the latter recently claimed the cost of the contract outweighed its revenue potential.
The cost is not known but previous estimates have ranged from $120 million to $170 million.
ADTV was a surprise contender and will now broadcast the EPL from 2010 to 2013 but the company’s subscription plans are not yet known.
Edward Borgerding, CEO of Abu Dhabi Media Company, said: “This is a critical moment for Abu Dhabi and for our media company. We have established a partnership with the most thrilling championships in the world. We aim at sustaining our partnership with the English Premier League for many years by telecasting the league matches to the Arab World, to Arab families in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Karim Sarkis, ADMC’s executive director of broadcast, said: “This is yet another great accomplishment for Abu Dhabi Sports channel and the Barclays Premier League is a welcome addition to our existing football portfolio. We are pleased at the Premier League’s confidence in our ability to deliver a quality product across multiple platforms. Our sports channels have built a reputation for excellent live coverage and commentary and football fans across the Arab world can look forward to top quality comprehensive coverage of all 380 Barclays Premier League games.”
Mohammed Najib, head of sports channels added, “Winning the rights to the EPL is a testament to the hard work that has gone into building the programming and the reputation of our channels and we are excited that we will be able to offer our loyal viewers exclusive coverage of the EPL in both English and Arabic across an expanded number of channels.”
Richard Scudamore, CEO of the FA Premier League said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Abu Dhabi Sports as our new partner across the Middle East and are entirely confident that they will deliver a premium product that will showcase the Premier League across the region to our many fans.”