Fox Sports World Nets Premier League

Fox Sports World laid its claim as “America’s Soccer Channel” Wednesday by renewing its North American rights agreement for FA Premier League of England through the 2007 season.

As part of the agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, Fox Sports World will telecast as many as 195 matches per season over the next three years, including 12-18 live Saturday-late-afternoon matches, Fox Sports World and Fox Sports en Español senior vice president and general manager David Sternberg said.

Fox Sports World will also develop a weekly preview and review show around its Premier League telecasts.

Also as part of the agreement, Fox Sports en Español will carry numerous Premiere League contests in Spanish.

Sternberg said Fox will still offer pay-per-view Premier League telecasts in conjunction with its schedule of televised games.

Separately, Fox Sports World has gained exclusive North American rights to the English FA Cup through 2008. Also included in the agreement are telecast rights to the English national side’s home qualifying matches for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the season opening Community Shield match and the Euro 2008 championship qualifiers.

Sternberg said the Premier League renewal -- along with the English FA Cup and its carriage of the UEFA Cup, the German Bundesliga, the French Ligue 1, America’s Major League Soccer and the Champions World Series -- will help the network to drive distribution beyond its current 20 million subscriber universe.

“The new agreements will greatly solidify Fox Sports World as the soccer channel,” he added.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.