Fox Soccer Channel nails down English Barclays Premier League mobile, Web rights

Fox Soccer Channel has expanded its partnership with England’s Barclays Premier League (BPL) to include exclusive U.S. mobile and Internet highlight rights for the 2007/2008 through 2009/2010 seasons. Reflecting the BPL’s growing popularity in the United States and worldwide, the new deal marks the first time that the league has made highlights available to U.S. fans via mobile devices or the Internet. Fox Soccer Channel will begin offering BPL highlights, commencing with the new season in August, on its market-leading Internet site – foxsoccer.com on MSN – and through additional mobile and Internet video syndication partnerships currently in negotiation.

Fox Soccer Channel also recently signed a new three-year broadcast rights agreement with the BPL, solidifying its position as the BPL’s primary broadcast partner in the United States through 2010. The broadcast agreement includes rights to distribute full matches via mobile devices and the Internet.

The BPL mobile and Internet package includes highlights of all BPL matches, along with a weekend ‘round-up’ and special weekly highlights featuring the league’s best goals, saves, players, and teams. The mobile package also features ‘in-match’ highlights allowing users to get their BPL highlights ‘on-the-go’ in near-real time.

“This landmark agreement will provide American soccer fans access to the world’s best league wherever and whenever they want it, on the devices of their choice,” said David Sternberg, executive vice president and general manager of Fox Soccer Channel. “We are looking forward to extending Fox Soccer Channel’s exclusive coverage of the Premier League to a multitude of new media platforms in the season ahead.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: “The demand for Premier League content via new media in addition to traditional broadcast is a sign of the growing popularity of the Premier League in the U.S. We are confident that by continuing to deliver the best league competition in the world, combined with the high-quality and in-depth coverage Fox Soccer Channel offers, we’ll be able to grow our fan base even further across the United States.”

As part of the deal, Spanish-language Internet and mobile rights will be shared by Fox Soccer Channel’s sister networks Fox Sports en Espa ol in the United States and Fox Sports Latin America throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas.

Fox Soccer Channel has showcased England’s top-flight league in the U.S. since 1998. With a combined worldwide television audience of more than 570 million, the Barclays Premier League is the world’s most prestigious soccer league and the home to international powerhouse clubs Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Thanks in part to Fox Soccer Channel’s comprehensive match and news coverage, the BPL continues to gain popularity in the United States. Three BPL teams – Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool – are now owned by American citizens, and this past season the league featured 14 American players, including several members of the U.S. Men’s National Team.