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    Iconic scenes mimicking Zinedine Zindane’s outrageous volley in 2002, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dramatic winner in 1999 and Real Madrid’s La Decima will no longer be screened on free-to-air Australian televisions this season unless a contingency deal is brokered.

    UEFA documents released publicly have revealed that Al Jazeera’s beIN Media Group have seized exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League, the Europa League, and Super Cup for the next three seasons in Oceania.

    The move ends public broadcaster SBS’s long held mantle as the king of European football coverage, which has slowly waned over the last decade after the loss of English Premier League rights to Foxtel.

    It is the end of an era, with SBS covering the Champions League for the past 20 years, and will put further doubt on whether the FIFA World Cup and other football competitions will continue to be screened on the ‘home of football’ in the long term.

    While the move away from Australia’s football flagship is a blow for SBS fans, the same cannot not be said about ESPN missing out on the deal.

    ESPN coverage of the Champions League has never truly been able to deliver the crisp and quality commentary and analysis of its competitors, and beIN Sports should be well placed to produce a more enjoyable product.

    The Copa America rights swapped hands from SBS to beIN Sports Australia for the first time this year and the coverage was reportedly impressive. Hopefully the same will be said about their handling of the world’s biggest club competition.

    Another upside is that all games will be broadcast live, with beIN Sports’ internet channel, beIN Sports Connect, providing a platform for every single match – from qualification play-offs to the final.

    Whereas ESPN’s coverage often focused on a English Premier League-dominated agenda, and SBS showed the game of the week, subscribers will now be able to follow whichever team they wish, and seek out the more entertaining and niche fixtures.

    However, the extra $19.99 expected to be charged for the service on top of existing Foxtel contracts is a bit steep given the broadcast will be in standard definition. If they can upgrade to high definition then fair play, but otherwise it feels a bit excessive.

    Unfortunately for SBS this downgrade in football coverage has been earmarked ever since the Abbott government announced hefty cuts to the public broadcaster. Speculation was already mounting in March.

    The move may also spark fresh rumours about SBS’s future football coverage, with their A-League contract running down in 2017. The long-held FIFA World Cup rights will no doubt be something they will try to hold onto.

    Details over the cost or length of beIN Sports’ new deal are yet to be confirmed, and it is still possible that SBS may open talks with them to arrange a similar deal they held with ESPN. However, given beIN Sports’ chance for exclusivity, it would appear unlikely.

    It is a shame for football fans who have slowly watched as SBS’s football coverage diminished more and more. For those who grew up with football before the A-League rolled around, it is another sad nail in the coffin.

    The recent FIFA Women’s World Cup coverage showed that SBS can still provide some of the best sport coverage in the country, while their handling of the Champions League is all many fans know. Waking up midweek at 4:30am and joining Craig Foster and the crew has long been a tradition among football fanatics.

    Sadly, the scenes of Lionel Messi mesmerising Camp Nou or Pep Guardiola manically directing his Bayern troops may never grace SBS screens again.

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    The Crowd Says (52)

    • July 15th 2015 @ 9:39am
      nordster said | July 15th 2015 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      The beIN coverage is really good for their other leagues. Main issue for them is getting HD quality and extra channels, currently they stream and have an SD channel on Foxtel.

      Next stop should be EPL rights which would be a fantastic subscription driver for them. Relatively low cost, ten games a week, a year round league almost, rates well here for the time slot.

      They are already producing great content to go with european football, so are the natural home for it. Cost wise they wouldnt need to add too much locally. Fox’s EPL coverage is bare bones aside from the games itself. Maybe they can steal the Boz as the local face:P

    • Roar Guru

      July 15th 2015 @ 9:55am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | July 15th 2015 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Not sure if this article has any factual basis.

      From what I’ve read, nothing has changed … apart from BeIN now owning the TV rights in AUS, not ESPN.

      ESPN had no issue selling the rights to some matches to SBS.

      I’m sure BeIN will do the same – although, it seems commercial FTA TV is also interested in broadcasting some matches. From what I’ve heard BeIN is keen to form an alliance with a commercial FTA TV network to bid for ALeague & AUS National Team matches.

      I’m absolutely confident some UCL matches every match day will continue to be broadcast on FTA Tv.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 15th 2015 @ 12:16pm
        At work said | July 15th 2015 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        I agree that I won’t get upset about anything until things are finalised.
        It could well go the same way that beIN on sell to SBS, this won’t change anything.

        If they don’t then this would be terrible, as I’m quite hesitant to add on another $20 to my Foxtel subscritpion, especially if only in SD

      • July 15th 2015 @ 3:34pm
        Ian said | July 15th 2015 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

        Agree. Wait and see if games are sold to SBS, but if not, it’s not a win when something for free then starts costing extra – the ‘free market capitalists’ or ‘let the rich get richer’ of course love it, but I’d prefer the games on FTA or at least part of the foxtel sports package.

      • July 15th 2015 @ 6:20pm
        Steve said | July 15th 2015 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

        No way bein sell an allocation to FTA, unless the price is quite high. There is zero incentive for beIN sports. ESPN’s poor ratings reflect the fact they didn’t have exclusive coverage.

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2015 @ 7:11pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | July 15th 2015 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

          What makes you say the BeIN deal is any different to the ESPN deal?

          Why couldn’t ESPN have also purchased “exclusive rights” & then on-sell to SBS? It happens for lots of sporting content in Australia & abroad.

          Only yesterday it was reported the biggest company in Spain – a telco called Telefónica has just purchased exclusive rights to LaLiga (interesting how Telcos who have bigger balance sheets than any TV broadcaster are transitioning to sports broadcasting) in Spain for the next 3 seasons. However, anti-siphon laws mean they must onsell certain “designated matches” to FTA broadcasters.

          Remember, SBS purchased the UCL content from ESPN. Why would ESPN continue to sell UCL matches to SBS if they blame SBS for low viewing numbers? That doesn’t pass any common sense test.

          • July 16th 2015 @ 9:24am
            oly said | July 16th 2015 @ 9:24am | ! Report

            Yeah but I don’t think UCL games are on our anti-siphoning list, so beIN sports don’t have to onsell to SBS. Especially when they’re trying to build up their subscriptions.

            • Roar Guru

              July 16th 2015 @ 9:55am
              Fussball ist unser leben said | July 16th 2015 @ 9:55am | ! Report

              Agree. They don’t have to sell to SBS. Neither did ESPN.

              Let’s wait and see what happens.

          • July 16th 2015 @ 10:00am
            Steve said | July 16th 2015 @ 10:00am | ! Report

            The point is they aren’t contuing, because they didn’t win the contract because they didn’t value it enough. Why, because there was no talk subscription, it was simply a part of Foxtel and it he Subscription providers. These providers pay a fee to ESPN, and ESPN clearly felt that the value of purchasing rights was not commensurate with the fees they received.

            With beIN sports, you can buy just beIN sports online. Given its a new offering, like pretty much every subscription service that isn’t forced to by anti siphoning (UCL is not on that) they will not provide a portion for free on a FTA network. You can wait for “official” confirmation, or you can use that “business brain” of yours to realise the rights will be locked away on beIN, just like the Copa this year, and just like the Euros in 2012 (on Setanta).

            • Roar Guru

              July 16th 2015 @ 2:05pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | July 16th 2015 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

              I repeat: Let’s wait and see what happens

              “SBS remains hopeful of negotiating a deal with the new rights holder …

              We’re not yet in a position to comment at this stage however I can tell you that we will make an announcement about this in the coming weeks.”

              Source: http://nelbie.com/kevmarl/2015/7/14/exclusive-sbs-misses-out-as-bein-sports-purchases-the-uefa-champions-league#sthash.ok5VIFvA.dpuf

              To be honest, I think SBS may not be able to offer BeIN as much as commercial FTA TV – most likely Nine Network – who will pick up 1-2 matches each matchday during the Group Phase. The only issue may be that BeIN may refuse to onsell the Semi-Finals & Final to FTA Tv.

              But, I think football fans would be willing to pay $17 (1 month’s stand-alone subscription) to watch the 2 SemiFinals & Final on BeIN via online platforms.

              • July 16th 2015 @ 2:42pm
                Bondy said | July 16th 2015 @ 2:42pm | ! Report


                Do you see football going more along with the likes of a Ch 9 than other traditional broadcasters ” SBS ” .
                Mate why would Ch 9 want EUCL football at 5.30 am ? …. I dont get it ..


                Any thoughts .

              • Roar Rookie

                July 16th 2015 @ 3:13pm
                At work said | July 16th 2015 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                At least they offer no lock in contracts, so just like I did with the Euro’s in 2012 (when I was off work for 3 months), paid for a month and watched at least half of all the games!

            • July 16th 2015 @ 3:01pm
              Midfielder said | July 16th 2015 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

              Was at a Welcome Wednesday night last night at the Ettalong RSL run by the Mariners… sorta works you seat at tables and club officials wander from table to table or group to group and you can ask anything you want and normally nothing is off the table.

              I asked the Mariners CEO if he knew anything about the media deal/ broadcasters and the BeIN offer.

              This was his reply and my jaw dropped… he said he was just off the phone to FFA and can advise he believes it will be on a 9 station this year and Gallop is also talking to 7 to help drive up the 9 price. the BeIN offer was far more than than Fox but had limited exposure and at this stage is rejected as their coverage would be minimal in audience terms .

              I then asked what % did he give that 9 would have it this year and he said FFA are unhappy with the SBS broadcast and want it moved as to how certain he was unsure except to say 9 want the A-League.

              Read into the above what you want but that was from the current Mariners CEO last night.

              • Roar Guru

                July 16th 2015 @ 4:21pm
                Fussball ist unser leben said | July 16th 2015 @ 4:21pm | ! Report


                I’m hearing the same things. Nine Network now (finally) understand the power of football & they want in.

                It seems the phenomenal global conversation generated by the Women’s WC – remember these are semi-professional athletes, who were largely anonymous 6 weeks ago – has caused media & marketing in AUS to sit up & take notice of the huge potential for football in AUS compared to the other sports that have no room for significant growth.

                The Nine Network is broadcasting around 25 matches LIVE across AUS over the next 3 weeks.

                Friday night & Saturday night A-League on the Nine Network – I’d be happy with that.

                PS: Ch9 have already broadcast 2 matches from the USA this week, with David Zdrilic as the studio co-ordinator. Worked very well – uninterrupted coverage. Very professional.

              • July 16th 2015 @ 4:54pm
                oly said | July 16th 2015 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

                Nine would work well as long as games wouldn’t be relegated to Gem or Go if they didn’t rate well straight away. I know everyone now has digital TV, but just look at how many people were unable to watch the Ashes because it was on Gem.

                I would also love the FTA game to be on Saturday night so our blockbuster clashes could be seen by a wider audience. THat would also means there would be no issue when the NRL season started in March and they had Friday night games.

              • July 16th 2015 @ 4:57pm
                Midfielder said | July 16th 2015 @ 4:57pm | ! Report


                Looks like the Roar have a local buyer as per media releases last week.

                Mariners appointed a new CEO and a had an expert Football consultant and between them they have turned the club around.

                Jerks have at least one but I have heard more interested buyers…

                9 chasing hard, 7 warming and 10 interested in broadcasting the A-League

                Now we have both Socceroos and Matildas both ratings and soon I believe the mens U 23 team

                Heading for a 12 team 33 round, + FFA Cup, + ACL, + A-League Finals, + W-League…

                Crowd average around 13K…

                Tis a good time to be around the evolution continues…

            • Roar Guru

              July 17th 2015 @ 7:07am
              Fussball ist unser leben said | July 17th 2015 @ 7:07am | ! Report

              During the Group Stage of Uefa Champions League there are 8 matches that kick-off simultaneously, apart from matches hosted in Russia which kick off earlier due to the eastern time zone.

              BeIN Sport have 1 channel.

              Do the maths.

    • Roar Guru

      July 15th 2015 @ 10:54am
      Kaks said | July 15th 2015 @ 10:54am | ! Report

      Geese…its getting expensive to watch sports in good quality these days

    • July 15th 2015 @ 11:27am
      Al said | July 15th 2015 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      ESPN was great beside the random US commentators, in full HD long before anyone else and lots of replays. This is a massive blow for both FTA viewers and Foxtel subscribers and is bad for the growth of the game in the country in general. I probably wont bother with BeIn – no way I’m putting up with their low definition picture for the premium price on top of existing Fox subscription.

      Only positive is that maybe people will get into the A League more if there is less exposure to premium football.

    • Roar Guru

      July 15th 2015 @ 1:06pm
      Nicholas Rupolo said | July 15th 2015 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

      far out this is annoying – all i want to do is watch some good quality football – can’t even watch my favourite sport anymore – not only mine – but approximiately 2 and a half million people in Sydney who watch football

      • July 15th 2015 @ 2:00pm
        Bomb78 said | July 15th 2015 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

        But what’s he alternative Nicholas?
        You either fork out some herd earned to watch it on Foxtel or online, or SBS uses public money?
        Yes, it will be a shame if this leads to no Champions League on fta, but I really don’t think there is a case for a public broadcaster to be paying a premium to a commercial operator (be it ESPN or Al Jazeera). Market economics has made football the amazing product it is, we can’t then complain about the same forces making the game expensive to watch.
        Putting aside the lack of HD, if we are only talking about an extra $20 a month I’d class that good value for what is the best football product on the planet.

        • July 15th 2015 @ 3:02pm
          SVB said | July 15th 2015 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          This was always going to happen. The rich and elitist want to create a league/s only suitable for viewing for those who are deemed suitable. They forget to realise that it was the ‘poor masses’ who built up the leagues around the world to what it is today.

          I think this can have a positive impact in that people will concentrate more on watching their local leagues. I stopped watching EPL a long time ago simply because I don’t have Foxtel, and I don’t have the time to find to watch it. I don’t care how good it is, but when you have a busy life then you have to prioritise.

          Football sometime in the future will need a revolution imo.

    • July 15th 2015 @ 2:16pm
      CG2430 said | July 15th 2015 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

      Grrr! Extra subs. I actually preferred SBS’ UEFA Champions League presentation to ESPN, too.

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