Murdoch scores with soccer fans

BERLIN — Upcoming season Champions’ League soccer matches will be seen exclusively on Rupert Murdoch’s free TV channel TM 3, with no games set for pay TV.

UEFA, the European soccer association, had originally planned to put the games on both free and pay TV, namely Premiere.

However, News Corp., after acquiring the rights earlier this year, reportedly offered the Kirch-owned Premiere the pay TV rights for only one season, which Premiere turned down. TM 3, which is transforming itself from a women’s channel into a virtual sports channel, has now seen fit to tailor nearly all of its new programming around Champions’ League soccer, for which it paid DM 850 million ($455 million).

Full slate of soccer

The station announced its new weekly lineup will include pre-game reports on Mondays, live matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and post-game analysis and reports on Thursdays and Fridays.

The station has recruited Michael Pfad, former head of sports programming at Premiere. Murdoch is rumored to be planning his own pay TV channel, and the Champions’ League games are expected to be some of his main programming content.

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