ADM blames 'unrealistic' price demand for loss of EPL rights
Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) decided to pull out of the running for the regional English Premier League broadcasting rights due to an “extremely unrealistic” price demand, the media organisation has announced.
After three seasons as the MENA region's Premier League broadcaster, ADM has been replaced by Al Jazeera Sport for the next three years, concluding at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.
It is considered a big loss for ADM but the company insists that continuing to broadcast the EPL made no financial sense given the “commercial infeasibility” of the money being asked for, hinting that Al Jazeera Sport paid over-the-odds for the rights.
“Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) decided not to continue negotiations to acquire the English Premier League broadcasting regional rights due to the commercial infeasibility of the deal,” the statement said.
“Out of its commitment to its viewers and to build on its previous investment in these rights, ADM participated in the Premier League’s invitation to tender with a financial offer that exceeded the actual market value of the product.
“However, after an unprecedented delay in announcing the outcome of the bidding process, the rights were given to a sports rights agency. This agency demanded an extremely unrealistic price that was many times the proven actual market value of the product.
“ADM accordingly decided there was no commercial sense in investing in the EPL rights and not to enter into such an unviable commercial deal that would hinder the natural development of the market.”
Despite the absence of the EPL, which was undoubtedly the most popular draw of all the ADM sports, the media company insists it will strive to deliver top-class entertainment from the sports still available on their channels.
These include Formula One Grand Prix motor racing, UAE football’s Arabian Gulf League, WWE wrestling and Grand Slam tennis.
The statement added: “ADM’s sports network will continue to diversify its offerings and to bring to its viewers high quality HD coverage of local, regional and international sporting events through its multiple delivery platforms.”
More details on Al Jazeera Sport's English and Arabic offerings for the English Premier Leauge and their High Definition package is expected in te coming days.
Al Jazeera's deal for the EPL means the Qatari-based television network now has the regional rights for all the major European football league's including Spain's La Liga, France's Ligue 1, Italy's Serie A and Portugal's Primeira Liga as well as the UEFA Champions League.