Al Jazeera’s purchase of U.S. broadcast rights for Spanish football’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie cause a bit of a stir a few months back, along with speculation American rights to the English Premier League might be their next target. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick, follows a warning ESPN NY has every intention of outbidding WFAN for Mets radio rights next season, with a reminder to his not-so-cosmopolitan readership that Al-Jazeera is “owned by the fabulously oil-rich country of Qatar.”
To feed its new beIN sports network, Al Jazeera has been hurling barrels of money for rights to the world’s biggest soccer leagues, and it’s eager to buy into all sports — here, there and everywhere.
In order to enter the U.S. market, Al Jazeera, an international rights specialist this week told us, is willing to pay cable operators to clear beIN. In other words, Al Jazeera doesn’t want to be paid by operators, to make room for its sports goods it’ll pay them!
“The players here for big league soccer — Fox, ESPN — are being blown away by Al Jazeera,” the specialist said. “Remember, they’re not competing against a corporation, but a government, and one with more money than it can spend.”
Qatar, despite its blistering heat and inaccessibility, in 2010 won 2022 World Cup soccer rights because it made an offer that drained the senses of FIFA. Governed by Sunni Islamic law, Qatar also is known for systemic repression of women.
Would big league U.S. teams or leagues sell Al Jazeera some or all of its TV rights?
“There would be political issues. And there’s a competitive advantage to a bidder that’s not a company but a country,” the specialist said. “ Yet, where money can talk, money talks. It already has.”
Get it, “barrels of money”? Y’know, if Phil can earn a paycheck reporting old news and reciting basic facts, who says I can’t do the same? For instance, did you know that NFL, MLB, NASCAR, EPL and NCAA football rights are partially held by Fox, a division of NewsCorp., a global concern whose chairman has long sought to influence politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, sometimes through nefarious means? Or that this same corporation — ie. one that employs Phil Mushnick — takes a considerably partisan approach to covering American politics, often in support of a party seeking to enforce systemic repression of women.
Phil would have you believe Qatar is “inaccessible”. How accessible is New York or Los Angeles to someone in Saudi Arabia? You can reach Qatar from Moscow by plane in four and a half hours (two and a half hours from Cairo). As for the blistering heat, it’ll be 105 degrees in Qatar tomorrow. Conversely, it was an incredibly comfortable 102 degrees last night when the Rangers hosted the Angels, a game that took a mere 4 hours to complete (roughly twice the length of a soccer match). If you’re waiting for the New York Post to weigh in on whether or not Arlington, TX is an appropriate place to play Major League Baseball, you might have to wait a little while. At least until Nolan Ryan sells the club to someone of middle eastern descent.