Pro League Committee looks to shake up television coverage as bidding opens for rights

One, instead of earlier two channels, will be able to hold the rights for three seasons, compared to five earlier, following the announcement by the Pro League Committee.

Fans watching a match at a cafe on Corniche in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
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ABU DHABI // Televised coverage of the Pro League will only be shown by one broadcaster from next season, it was announced yesterday.

Abu Dhabi Sports and Dubai Sports channels have shared the broadcast rights of the Pro League for the five years since the game turned professional, but only one will be able to hold the rights from 2013/14 to 2015/16 following the announcement by the Pro League Committee (PLC).

Hamad Nekhirat Al Ameri, a member of the PLC's executive committee and the chairman of the Right Licensing Committee, said they were looking to build upon the successes for the past five years.

"We need to continue to grow awareness, professionalism of how competitions are being showcased," he said.

"It is for this reason that we have taken the innovative step of launching the invitation for the tender, aimed at achieving our objectives."

Colin Smith, the PLC's chief executive, said the tender would cover the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in both Arabic and English with the international rights to be addressed at a later stage.

"We have looked at different models from different leagues throughout the world and have decided split our tender in two packages," he said.

Package A consists of the Pro League and the Reserve League while package B is made up of the Super Cup and the Etisalat Cup. The deadline for the return of proposals in sealed envelopes, one with the financial offer, and the other a technical offer, is April 15.

"Each package will be only awarded to one party," Smith added. "However, one party may be awarded both packages. Any successful bidder will have the opportunity also to sub-license the rights if they wish to do so.

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