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UAE FA seek to boost revenue with TV deals

Announce tenders for broadcasting rights for three years

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s Professional League Committee (PLC) threw open the tender for it’s domestic competitions in the forthcoming three seasons from 2013-14 in a bid to maximise it’s revenue potential from broadcasting rights. The four competitions are the Etisalat Pro-League, Etisalat Cup, Etisalat Super Cup and Etisalat Reserve League.

The announcement of floating tenders, which took place at a press conference at the Emirates Palace hotel on Saturday, came at a time when broadcasting rights turned into an undeclared war between some of the channels in the region with most of the regional TV stations failing to show the matches of the AFC Champions League. The channel with the exclusive rights had apparently demanded $200 million (Dh734.6 million) from each channel wishing to show the matches live, resulting in none of the local sports channels in the UAE being able to show the matches of their four teams in the major continental competitions live.

The conference was attended by Hamad Nekhirat Al Ameri, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Rights Licensing Committee (BRLC), members of the committee and Colin Smith, CEO of the PLCF, in addition to representatives of the UAE sports TV channels in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah and members of the media.

The BRLC is out to increase the revenue of the PLC, who sold the sponsorship and broadcasting rights of the professional league for Dh600 million for the past five years. Al Ameri said that they would like to build upon their past success and they aimed to increase the revenue of the PLC which will, in turn, increase the revenue of the professional clubs. The deadline for receiving tenders is April 15, 2013.

“The tender would be for three football seasons from the 2013-1014 through to 2015-2016 covering the territory of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in both Arabic and English coverage. International rights will be addressed by us at a later stage,” said Smith.

“We have looked at different models from different leagues throughout the world and have decided to split our tender in two packages. Package A would be the Pro League and the Reserve League while package B consists of the Super Cup and the Etisalat Cup.”