In Al Jazeera’s Global Plans, Sports Hold The Key

By Alex Weprin 

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Al Jazeera wants to grow, but as a news channel there are severe limitations. News is commoditized, and there is heavy competition. In the world of television, the most valuable content is content that viewers cannot get anywhere else.

That is why in the U.S. and cross the globe the most valuable TV content is live sports. Al Jazeera knows this, and as Reuters reports, it is setting its sights on acquiring some of the most high-profile sports rights around: The English Premier League. The EPL is currently broadcast in the U.K. by Sky Sports, but that may change:

“The Qataris see sport as being an entree for themselves on the world stage, and the next piece in the jigsaw puzzle is a really big rights acquisition,” said Graham Shear, a lawyer specializing in sports matters.

“The Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is trying to generate a competition; he would love to see Sky and Al Jazeera go head to head.”