Al Jazeera Sports ‘in talks’ to buy Setanta Australia for local push

bein-sportsAl Jazeera Sports has held talks to buy pay-TV sports provider Setanta Australia and could look to launch its international brand BeIn early next year, a move which would pose a serious challenge to the dominance of Fox Sports, Mumbrella understands.

Senior industry sources say there have been “talks” between the Qatari-based media group and Setanta, which currently airs as an paid-for subscription channel on Foxtel, about an acquisition.

It is thought Al Jazeera could look to form a joint venture with sports rights sellers MP & Silva under the BeIn brand, which has made a major push into France, North America and several countries in Asia in the last two years.

The move would signal a significant increase in competition for News Corp-owned Fox Sports, which currently dominates the subscription sports market, as BeIn has flexed some serious financial muscle across Asia to acquire sports right including the English Premier League (EPL) in Indonesia.

The EPL is currently one of the jewels in the crown for Fox Sports, which is limited in the amount of domestic rights it is able to pick up by strict anti-siphoning laws, meaning many top-tier domestic and international sports must be available on free-to-air TV.

BeIn has also recently launched in other Asian markets including Hong Kong and the Philippines and has three channels in France, as well as a presence in Canada.

Speculation on the entry of Al Jazeera into the market started in October when The Australian reported Fox Sports was forced to stop broadcasting the Italian Serie A football league after MP & Silva, which sells the rights globally, found it had sold them twice for Australia. The other holder is Al Jazeera.

The channel would also hold rights to several other European football leagues which would  provide it with a wide-ranging audience of niche demographics in Australia.

Setanta currently holds the rights to assets including the English Football League, Scottish Premier League as well as a range of football World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, English Rugby Premiership matches and Gaelic sports. It is thought these rights would be transferred to BeIn under the terms of the deal.

Neither Al Jazeera nor Setanta were available for comment at the time of publishing.

Comments


  1. Man who knows these things.
    12 Dec 13
    7:39 pm

  2. Whoever wrote this knows very little about sport on TV. For a start, the EPL is not covered by the anti-siphoning laws.
    Most importantly, nothing will challenge Fox Sports’ dominance unless it can secure AFL or NRL matches, which are locked up for the next five years.
    So, Mumbrella should understand that this is a total irrelevancy, but good on you for once again not having any clue about sport on TV!

  3. Alex Hayes
    12 Dec 13
    9:02 pm

  4. Hi Man,

    Thanks for the comment. I wrote the story.

    If you take the time to read it properly it describes the EPL as the jewel in the crown of Fox Sports. I’m totally aware it is not on the anti-siphoning list, and this is not claimed, not I think implied in the piece.

    Cheers,

    Alex, Editor, Mumbrella

  5. Man who knows these things.
    13 Dec 13
    9:48 am

  6. “The EPL is currently one of the jewels in the crown for Fox Sports, which is limited in the amount of domestic rights it is able to pick up by strict anti-siphoning laws, meaning many top-tier domestic and international sports must be available on free-to-air TV.”

    ‘EPL’ is the subject of this sentence, ‘Fox Sports’ is the object. In the second clause of this sentence, ‘which’ refers to the subject – the EPL – so you are saying the EPL is limited by anti-siphoning laws. Obviously you didn’t mean this, but you can see how someone that knows parts of speech might be confused.

  7. Lachlan
    13 Dec 13
    10:28 am

  8. err – man who thinks he knows things. I read it. Although I believe most people on this site would know about anti-siphoning legislation and not require the extra info / definition, in my opinion it’s not implied that the EPL is on the anti-siphoning list.

    And if you’re going to dish out english lessons try and make them readible / instructive. And while I’m offering unsolicited advice, try and provide some insight on the actual topic if you’re going to comment, you know, instead of being a boring pedant.