Net will broadcast UEFA league exclusively

BAGHDAD — Al Jazeera Sports has won exclusive broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League soccer matches across the Middle East and North Africa for a period of four years.

The UEFA said the deal includes rights to the quarter, semi and final UEFA Cup matches, the UEFA Super Cup, and Internet and mobile rights.    “Substantial offers from several of the major media groups and broadcasters in the region were received, providing further evidence of the increasing strength of both competitions,” UEFA said. The Doha-based channel beat off stiff competition from ART, Orbit, Showtime and Abu Dhabi to secure the deal, the Qatari daily the Peninsula said.

Live broadcast of the Champions League and the UEFA Cup will run from 2009 to 2012, with sub-licensing of live matches to a number of free-to-air broadcasters across the region also expected. “This is a major development for us. Right now, we have about one million subscribers. We are looking at a figure of three million subscribers in the next two years,” said Al Jazeera sport general manager Ayman Jadah.

“The substantial increase in the rights fees demonstrates the continuing global attraction of UEFA’s club competitions,” said UEFA’s marketing director Philippe Le Floc’h.

The bid figure was not revealed.

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