English Soccer to be on US Radio

29 November 2004

The first ever US radio contract to transmit UK Premier League football has been awarded to American satellite radio broadcaster Sirius.

Already buoyant after making Mel Karmazin, former Viacom chief, head of its service and signing up controversial radio presenter Howard Stern [WAMN: 22-Nov-04], Sirius hopes the sporting addition will help it dominate stateside satellite radio.

Sirius currently broadcasts a multitude of ad-free channels across America and hopes English soccer will appeal especially to Hispanic and expatriate listeners, and generate lucrative subscriptions.

The deal kicks off straight away and will run until the end of the 2006/7 season, and is viewed as an important tactic to tackle the US market, a Premier League spokesperson said.

Subscribers to the new service will be able to enjoy live and delayed Premiership coverage. A number of channels will be exclusively devoted to English soccer and will be available throughout the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The $1 million (€750,000; £528,000) contract was forged by TWI and coincides with its reappointment by the Premier League to handle all global sales of radio rights.

Said Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League: "We are now broadcast on television in more than 180 different countries, but we are always looking to ensure there are numerous ways for fans to access and enjoy the competition."

The deal will intensify the attraction of British soccer in America insists head of TWI Radio Carolyn Smyth: "The plan is to initially target British expatriates who are starved of soccer."

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff