Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Football: Has NZ lost the rights to the EPL?

Kiwi football fans may have no way of watching the English Premier League next season. Photo / Getty Images.
Kiwi football fans may have no way of watching the English Premier League next season. Photo / Getty Images.

As one of the most enthralling English Premier League seasons in recent memory comes to a climax, it is possible there will be no official broadcast of the competition into New Zealand next season.

Internet sports streamer Coliseum's tenure with the Premier League is about to end and there is uncertainty over who will carry the rights here for the 2016-17 campaign.

Doha-based Bein Sports (a subsidiary of Al Jazeera) won the rights late last year, outbidding both Sky Television and Coliseum, who have provided an online Premier League service for the past three years.

However, it's understood Bein Sports' main focus was setting up an Asia-Pacific Premier League hub, with New Zealand just a small link in the coverage to the region. But Bein failed to secure some big markets, including Australia (Optus).

Since then, it's believed Bein has been trying to on-sell the New Zealand rights to the Premier League.

A Sky Television spokeswoman said that, while negotiations were ongoing, it seemed unlikely the rights would be picked up by the pay television operation.

"We haven't got the rights," she said. "Talks are continuing. Is it likely? No, but neither is the door closed 100 per cent."

A Coliseum statement said: "Our Premier League service will cease entirely from the end of May. We are not sure who has the broadcasting rights for the 2016-17 season. All we can say is that it is not us."

TVNZ, who have carried the free-to-air rights over the past three years, are not in negotiations with Bein Sports.

- Herald on Sunday

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