Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Inks $1.24 Billion Dutch Soccer Deal

News Corp generic image - H 2012
Getty Images

News Corp generic image - H 2012

The conglomerate takes control of rights group Eredivisie, locking up Dutch premier league rights for the next 12 years.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has taken a 51 percent stake in Erdivisie Media & Marketing, the group that controls the rights to the Dutch premier soccer league, from owner Endemol for an undisclosed sum. Fox replaces Endemol in the Erdivisie joint venture, with the Dutch soccer league remaining the minority partner and retaining its 49 percent stake in the rights group.

The deal commits News Corp.'s Fox International Channels to pay $1.24 billion (€1 billion) for rights to the Dutch league over the next 12 years starting with the 2013/2014 season. The agreement, the largest of its kind in the history of Dutch soccer, will see News Corp. pay $74 million (€60 million) for the first year rising to $124 million (€100 million) for the final season.

Because pay-TV penetration is low in the Netherlands - below 10 percent of total households, Fox is likely to sell on the soccer rights instead of holding them exclusively for themselves in the territory.

News Corp. obviously sees a bright future in European soccer. The Dutch deal follows a $3.5 billion, three-year deal for rights to England's Premiere league signed by News Corp.'s British pay TV group BSkyB and a $3.3 billion deal by the company's German pay TV operation Sky Deutschland for the rights to the next four seasons of Germany's Bundesliga.