U.S. fans of the English Barclay’s Premier League will be able to see action from arguably the world’s top fútbol circuit on the Web and on their cellular phones when it kicks off its new season this August.
Fox Soccer Channel
-- through a deal covering the next three seasons, terms of which were not disclosed -- gained exclusive U.S. mobile and Internet highlight rights, as well as the capability to stream live matches.
Complementing its position as the league’s primary telecast partner here in the States,
the mobile/Internet package includes highlights of all BPL matches, along with a weekend roundup and special weekly content featuring the league's best goals, saves, players and teams.
The mobile package also features “in-match” highlights, allowing users to view key BPL moments from sides like Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal “on-the-go” in near-real-time.
Fox Soccer executive vice president and general manager
said that in addition to offering the highlights on foxsoccer.com on MSN, the network would look to strike deals with other portals, including cable operators’ online sites. “We want to tie in our MSO partners,” he added.
On the mobile side, Sternberg said Fox Soccer initiated negotiations with the Big Four wireless carriers, and it is also having conversations with some mobile-virtual-network operators.
Although it has not drafted a game plan concerning match streaming, Fox Soccer does hold the rights to stream matches and could avail itself of that opportunity during the upcoming season.
“There are many considerations and some restrictions,” Sternberg said, noting, “Maximizing TV viewing is the core of our business. What you might see streamed is different than the match that’s on the channel.”
Sternberg said Fox Soccer’s overall strategy with the BPL is consistent with “the evolution of the way sports fans consume media. We want to be on as many devices and platform as possible to give fans access to this great content.”
As Fox Soccer looks to syndicate its mobile and Internet rights, it is also engaged in upfront conversations involving integrated advertising packages across the different media.
“BPL highlights on the Internet is certainly part of our upfront pitch to advertisers. And we think there will be interest for mobile content, as well,” said Sternberg, adding that Fox Soccer hopes to ink several multimedia pacts after the broadcast networks conclude their upfront business in the weeks ahead.
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