ABU DHABI // Arabian Gulf League football fans are embracing subscription channels to follow their favourite teams.
Abu Dhabi Media, publisher of The National and owner of Abu Dhabi Sports channels, said yesterday that more than 6,000 satellite decoders have already been installed.
Earlier this year the organiser of the UAE’s premier football league – the Professional League Committee (PLC) – decided to encrypt selected matches each week for live television broadcast.
The move was part of its plan to raise the standard of professionalism, attract larger crowds to matches and generate revenue to invest in its grassroots football development programme for young academy footballers.
Fans who subscribed last weekend can expect their receivers to be delivered over the next few days, Abu Dhabi Media said.
Abu Dhabi Media and Dubai Media Incorporated previously announced that the Abu Dhabi Sports channels and Dubai Sports Channel would be broadcasting Arabian Gulf League matches through a joint agreement, following the PLC’s decision to encrypt selected matches.
The move has had an immediate impact, Abu Dhabi Media said, with a crowd of more than 5,000 attending the game between Al Shaab and Al Wasl in Sharjah last Friday.
The first encrypted match contested by Al Ahli and Al Nasr attracted 7,800 spectators, almost double the number from last season’s corresponding fixture.
Additional stocks of the new decoder will be available across all emirates at a special price for a limited period of time.
Football fans are advised to reserve their new decoders with a subscription to Abu Dhabi Sports as demand is set to rise as the season continues.