Proposed Football Super League To Feed Murdoch's Pay-TV Networks Around The World
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's proposed 16-team summer football tournament for '15 would feature games aired on U.K. pay-TV channel BSkyB, in which 21st Century Fox owns a 39% stake; the conglomerate's Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland; and some of the company's Fox Int'l Channels networks, according to Roxborough & Szalai of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Exclusive rights to such a premium sports event "could also help Murdoch in the U.S., where next month the company is launching new sports network Fox Sports 1." RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank said, "It's great content." But industry observers said that "the potential competition faces a slew of timing and organizational challenges." Sanford C. Bernstein Co. European media analyst Claudio Aspesi said, "The schedule is already crowded, and every second year, European players also have to play either in the World Cup or in the European Cup. The odds that this will prove just an expensive set of 'quasi-friendlies' is high." It "may all come down to how much money 21st Century Fox is willing to pay." Aspesi said, "If [the company] spends enough money, it may matter. The clubs are perennially hungry for more." The idea of creating a football super league of top teams "is nothing new." Murdoch's reported plan, however, "is significantly different than previous super-league proposals in that it the proposed tournament would run during the summer break when national leagues have finished" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 7/1).