Premier League soccer off to Middle East

Endemol Sport partners for high-def channels in the region

LONDON -- Premier League English Soccer is coming to 22 countries across the Middle East after Endemol Sport announced Monday it has partnered with the Abu Dhabi Media Co. to launch four high-def subscription channels in the region.

The sports division of the company behind "Big Brother" and "Wipeout" will launch Arabic-language channels targeting local audiences as well as two English-language channels.

The channels will air all 380 live English Premier League matches, after the ADMC acquired all television and digital rights to the soccer tournament for the next three years through 2013.

The games will be available to viewers on ADMC's encrypted Al Riyadiya platform, which are available across the region via subscription television, IPTV and broadband Internet services.

Endemol Sports and Endemol Middle East will produce a range of programming around the tournament including highlights, post-match analysis and expert panels.

"The English Premier League is debated by millions of people across the region on a daily basis, and from next year we will be at the heart of that debate, said Mohammed Najeeb, director of Abu Dhabi Riyadiya sports channels.

Added Endemol Sport managing director Lawrence Duffy, "This is possibly the most significant sports channel launch of the last decade, promising viewers in the region an 'unprecedented viewing experience.' "