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SBD Global/October 19, 2012/Media
ESPN, Fox Face Challengers As Networks Submit Bids For U.S. Rights To EPL
Published October 19, 2012
NBC BID NOT AS STRONG AS EXPECTED: While NBC Sports submitted a bid, sources said it was not as strong as some were expecting. NBC’s cable channel, NBC Sports Network, is in the market for more live sports. But NBC’s F1 deal, which was announced earlier this week, will fill some of the same windows NBC Sports would need for the EPL, sources said. BeIN Sport has been aggressive in picking up int'l soccer rights to top European leagues, as the net has deep pockets. But there is a question whether it would have enough weekend morning windows to accommodate EPL, given its existing deals with La Liga and Serie A. There is also a question of whether EPL would sell its rights to a channel that has little distribution and is relegated to sports tiers. Discovery for the past several years has made noise about trying to add sports to some of its channels like Velocity, a channel targeting the 25-54 demo. It is not clear how serious Discovery will be in trying to pick up EPL rights. IMG did not return a phone call by deadline, but its interest in EPL almost certainly would be to sublicense the games to interested networks.