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EPL: Abu Dhabi Sports' 11 secret herbs and spices

by Aaron Greenwood on Aug 10, 2009

Abu Dhabi Sports Channel (ADSC) head Mohammed Najib’s recent comments to a Dubai-based business tabloid that viewers will be able to watch English Premier League (EPL) games for a monthly fee “equal to the value of a KFC meal” got us reaching for the calculator (and the long-neglected KFC takeaway menu, which is missing BTW).

By our estimation, Najib’s talking in the vicinity of Dh20.00 (US$5.50) for a monthly subscription package to access ADSC’s EPL coverage, which would represent the bargain of the century compared to existing EPL rights-holder Showtime’s entry package of Dh195.00 ($53.00).

In the same interview, Najib stressed ADSC’s business plan for the EPL rights would generate solid revenues for the company in the immediate term (perhaps he’s talking about value meals for a family of 10).

So we did the maths.

ADSC’s parent Abu Dhabi Media Company reportedly secured the EPL rights for three seasons starting 2010/11 for a record US$320 million (Showtime picked up the rights for a comparatively meagre US$120m over three years).

In its first two years hosting EPL games, Showtime’s MENA subscriber base is believed to have grown by 100,000. Combine this with around $10m pa in EPL-related advertising revenues, and the $40m pa investment suddenly appears relatively good value.

But anyone will tell you that if you triple the initial outlay and sell access for the cost of a Zinger burger, you’ve got a recipe for disaster in commercial terms (no pun intended).

Let’s say ADSC sells access for around Dh240 (US$65) per annum. To make good on the $105 million or so spent on the annual rights (and taking into account the $10 million currently generated by Showtime in ad revenues), ADSC will need to attract 1,461,538 subscribers, just to break even.

A frightening prospect. Oh, and if you’re a United fan, you might want to turn your attention elsewhere. By Najib’s own admission, "Manchester City will be our favourite club in Abu Dhabi Sports Channels, because it is a story of success that every Emirati should be involved in”.

What is your impression of ADSC’s business plan for the EPL rights? HAVE YOUR SAY NOW!


I second that. Please bring back Rob and Derek and don't provide second rate English language coverage like ART used to.


Readers' Comments

Bob D (Jul 18, 2010)
United Arab Emirates

I second that. Please bring back Rob and Derek and don't provide second rate English language coverage like ART used to. Please also get e-Vision to start offering packages now and not have everyone subscribing three days before the season starts.

Mohammed Al-Khalifa (Jul 6, 2010)
west riffa

we want Rob and Derek back!!!

Tony (Aug 31, 2009)
United Arab Emirates

"Manchester City will be our favourite club in Abu Dhabi Sports Channels, because it is a story of success that every Emirati should be involved in?. Oh Dear - goodbye to professional unbiased coverage. I also presume that the price of the KFC meal will equate to the price PER GAME shown and not a monthly subscription. ADTV may want to promote Abu Dhabi but they will not give anything away people. Expect the subscriptions to be on a par with Showtime with a vastly discounted rate for UAE nationals.....

Malcolm Johnson (Aug 10, 2009)
United Arab Emirates

Economic sense?
Abu Dhabi's attempted takeover of the EPL continues. Paying over the odds for the EPL rights and then selling them for next to nothing says a lot about their overall strategy. It's purely a branding exercise thought up by some (no doubt) UK (Manchester-based?) marketing expert - you buy a (mediocre) football club from Manchester (that's not United), put your (newish) airline's logo on the team shirt, pay over the odds for a bunch of middling-profile players, then snare the television rights to all games played by said team (oh, and the rest of the competition) and promote the combo to the hilt throughout the fast-developing MENA region! Making money is not an immediate issue - raising the profile of Abu Dhabi (and its various business interests) is.

Bob D (Aug 10, 2009)
United Arab Emirates

Value meal or family bucket
The gentleman didn't specify whether that means a value meal or a family bucket (around AED 16 for the first; AED 79??? for the second). Either way, shockingly good value compared to the AED 205 Showtime fleeces me for each month. With the money saved, I could order in quite a few value meals or even a couple of family buckets.

Mohammed (Aug 10, 2009)
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Guys, I would like to congratulate Abu Dhabi Sports vision for providing Premier League football matches to everyone for very little cost. I never watched before, but I will do. Manchester City is my favourite team - let's hope they play some matches in Abu Dhabi.

Richard (Aug 10, 2009)

Cheap enough for mass market appeal
If they can offer the EPL without the need for any other pay TV subscription to hang it on, this could be the master stroke. Just as KFC is cheap enough to be enticing, 20AED for all the EPL games without disruption might just be low enough to persuade big audiences from the likes of Egypt to part with a little cash. I'd be pretty miffed right now if I was a pirate smartcard seller.

Vickram (Aug 10, 2009)
Building up
I beleive that ADMC is aiming to profit from some extremely high advertising rates during the EPL and are simply charging for the channel to sidestep broadcast regulations which prevent it being shown on FTA TV they are looking to build the brand around the clubs they are going to become affiliated with and very soon the merchandising and advertising revenue combined will double the pittance that showtime used to make from its subscription money because every kid in the region will be walking around with a manchester city shirt as I will be (GO BARRY!) but it might put KFC out of business maybe they should advertise during the EPL.


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