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Soccer-Premier League TV tussle heads for extra time
LONDON, June 12 |
LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - The English Premier League is holding a second round of bidding for a new domestic television deal, Britain's Guardian newspaper said on Tuesday, fuelling speculation of a challenge from Al Jazeera to rights holders BSkyB and ESPN.
The Premier League, which gets 1.78 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) under its current three-year deal, declined to comment on the report.
An industry source indicated that there was a second round of bidding for at least some of the matches available for live broadcast.
The first round of bidding closed last Friday and a decision would have been announced by now if the issue was clear cut, the source told Reuters.
Better known for its news coverage, Qatar-based Al Jazeera has launched a news sports channel in France and plans to launch two more channels in the United States in August.
Nasser al-Khelaifi, director of Al Jazeera Sports, told Reuters last month that the company was still studying whether to bid for English rights.
The Premier League enjoys the most lucrative television deals in world soccer. Under the current agreement, which expires next year, BSkyB shows 115 games per season in Britain and U.S-owned ESPN a further 23.
The number of games shown live will rise to 154 from 2013-14. The rights will be divided into five packages of 26 games and two blocks of 12, with no buyer allowed to take more than 116 games in total.
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