News Corp. Unit Wins Digital Rights to U.K. Soccer Highlight Clips

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News International, the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has won the U.K. rights to show highlight clips for all Britain's Barclays Premier League soccer matches, starting with the 2013-2014 season online and on mobile devices.

The Premier League announced the agreement, which will bring "near-live" clips to the digital operations of tabloid The Sun and the Times of London, Wednesday night. Financial details weren't disclosed, but the Guardian said it was worth more than $31 million (£20 million).

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Murdoch himself cheered the deal on Twitter. "Goal! We won the rights in the UK to show clips of all 380 Premier League matches on the Sun, Times & Sunday Times digital/mobile apps!"

The agreement, which covers audio and video clips, runs through the 2015-2016 season. Previously, Yahoo! held the online rights to the clips, while ESPN had the mobile rights.

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Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said: “We are extremely pleased with this exciting development that sees News International, traditionally a newspaper publishing organization, move further into the digital media space through the acquisition of our U.K. near-live clip rights."

In another deal, the Premier League awarded pay TV giant BSkyB, in which News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake, the non-live broadcast rights for 226 league matches per season for the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 seasons.

BSkyB and telecom giant BT previously acquired live match packages for the soccer league.
 
Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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