Al Jazeera is to buy six sports channels from Arab Radio & Television (ART), according to Rapid TV News.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the two networks, although the exact terms of the deal are unknown, and the move is expected to make Al Jazeera the exclusive regional rights holder of next year’s Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
Al Jazeera already has eight sports channels but the deal will leave ART with only one sports channel, El Ahly.
Al Jazeera’s sports division holds the exclusive regional rights to broadcast games from Italian Serie A, Spain’s La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. The Qatar-based broadcaster also has the rights to screen Champions League matches until 2012 after winning the rights last year.
The move by Al Jazeera and ART follows the merger of rival pay-TV broadcasters Showtime and Orbit earlier this year. It also follows close on the heels of Abu Dhabi Media Company bagging the rights to the English Premier League from 2010.