ABU DHABI // When the 2010/2011 Premier League football season begins in August, fans in the region will be able to watch matches through the internet or on televisions plugged into set-top boxes. Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), which last year bought the rights to show the games across the Middle East and North Africa, released more details about viewing options yesterday.
ADMC will make matches available on its three Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiyah satellite television channels. Fans will also be able to access matches through internet protocol television and on the internet. ADMC, which owns The National, is in talks with cable television operators over screening rights. Organisers say the new system will provide viewers with a quality of television not previously seen in the region at "value-for-money-prices", although pricing details have yet to be finalised.
Consumers will be able to purchase set-top boxes from major retailers that will allow them to receive match broadcasts, according to a statement released by ADMC. No details were given regarding when the boxes would be released or whether arrangements would be made to allow more than three live matches to be screened simultaneously. "The English Premier League is the most watched football league in the world and we are proud to bring it to our audiences," said Karim Sarkis, the executive director of broadcast at ADMC.
"Our multi-platform offering is a response to the shifting needs and viewing patterns of our consumers. "We are confident that we are launching a compelling offering that will provide enhanced accessibility and a high quality product at value-for-money for the EPL fans across the region." ADMC announced last July that it had bought the three-year rights to show the games. Bob Kabli, the head of the Dubai Liverpool Supporters Club, said the handover from Showtime, which currently holds the screening rights, would not change his viewing habits.
"I usually watch football with my friends in a bar. Part of the excitement comes from watching with other people. It is a social activity," said the 36-year-old airline manager, who is also from London and lives in Dubai. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org