English football games head online for Kiwi fans

Sky TV has lost the rights to show English Premier League football matches. Photo / AP
Sky TV has lost the rights to show English Premier League football matches. Photo / AP

Coliseum Sports Media is set to deliver to New Zealanders all 380 games of the English football Premier League via an online platform.

TVNZ has also confirmed it is partnering with Coliseum to present a match of the week game every Sunday on TV One from the start of the season. The channel will also broadcast an hour-long highlights show on Monday nights.

Coliseum's premierleaguepass.com kicks off on August 1 and will be the only place in New Zealand to watch all English Premier League games live. The group has signed a three-year deal.

The season pass will cost $149.90, with a day pass available for $24.90.

Coliseum founder Tim Martin said by the end of the three year contract, the site would be "the most advanced internet pay-per-view sports platform in the world."

He also confirmed Coliseum was looking at the French and Italian leagues.

"But what we need are subscribers," Martin said. "We will see how the EPL goes and if the market reacts to that, then we will make decisions around other stuff.

"It is similar to the NBA league pass or the MLB league pass in America. At the moment we are just looking at the EPL but there is lots of room to grow.

"We have spared no expense in investing in the content delivery model. The technology is mint. It will provide a level of service over the internet that really hasn't been seen before."

Jeff Latch, TVNZ's Head of TV One and TV2, said he was thrilled to bring the premiership back to TV One screens after many years.

"We're excited to be working with Coliseum to give TV viewers a chance to see the world's most watched and closely followed football competition. We know football fans are passionate supporters of the beautiful game.

"These are exciting times to be in the media business and this is a fascinating development for premium sports content that we expect to be welcomed by New Zealand viewers.''

Sky TV's share price has dropped 6.1 per cent on news of the EPL loss, with shares in the company falling 35 cents to $5.32 in morning trading on the NZX.

Company chief executive John Fellet told RadioSport the threat of other companies going after their jewel of rugby is realistic.

"That has always existed. The easiest thing to do is outbid somebody. Trying to monetise the rights, that's when it gets a little bit trickier. The rugby rights would be under pressure if I didn't have any football, or if I had all football,'' Fellet said.

It's understood Coliseum is in negotiations with one major telco to show the games on various platforms.

Newcomer free-to-air sports channel Sommet Sports has revealed it also bid for the rights.

"The EPL is a series that many of our viewers would have loved to watch at no cost. We bid twice for this competition, once losing to international company MP&Silva, who then placed it up for bidding again. We lost in this round also, coming second." said Andrew Reeves, Director of Sommet Sports.

Sommet Sports, soon to be available on Freeview Channel 14, will still be able to show two delayed EPL games per week.

- Newstalk ZB/nzherald.co.nz/APNZ

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