NFL eyes Asia foothold with Yes deal

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HONG KONG -- Hong Kong-based regional sports media company Yes TV has inked a deal to broadcast National Football League games across Asia, Yes said Friday.

Yes TV target their content towards niche audiences and Yes TV CEO Tom Kressner hopes they can build a strong viewer base for the league.

"The National Football League is one of the most successful sports leagues in the world. We have a track record in building significant viewership for European soccer leagues across Asia, and are now very pleased to have the chance to do the same for the NFL," Kressner said.

Carriage and distribution partners for the league for terrestrial, pay TV, broadband and mobile platforms are still being finalized, Yes said.

Despite its popularity in the U.S. and its lucrative broadcast deals there, the NFL has failed to develop a significant audience overseas, particularly in Asia. An exhibition game scheduled for Aug. 8 in Beijing, between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, was postponed until 2009. Exhibition games have previously been held in Japan and Mexico. NFL Europe folded in June after 16 seasons.

The NFL will stage its first-ever regular season game in Europe on Oct. 28. The game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants will take place at London's newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium.

Together with Malaysian pay TV operator Astro, Yes co-owns and producers Goal TV, the only pan-Asian, 24-hour soccer network. Goal TV holds exclusive rights to the French, Dutch and Scottish premiere leagues in Asia.

Steven Schwankert in Beijing contributed to this report.
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