August 26 – The AFC has added another broadcaster to its distribution roster with public service broadcaster Abu Dhabi Media in the United Arab Emirates picking up the rights to national team and club competitions for the 2021 to 2024 cycle.
With the withdrawal of long term pan-regional partner beIN Sports from the AFC rights bidding, the AFC has been selling territory-by-territory across the middle east. No value was given for the new deal in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi Media will air AFC content on its four channel Abu Dhabi Sports network.
Haitham Al Kathiri, Acting Executive Director of Abu Dhabi TV Channels Network, emphasised the broadcasters commitment to the new rights saying: “Abu Dhabi Media is pleased to gain the broadcast rights in the United Arab Emirates…”
“Abu Dhabi Sports channels will present a variety of sports analysis shows, hosted by some of the most prominent sports analysts and provide exceptional coverage using the latest high-definition broadcasting technologies, to give football fans the finest viewing experience of world-class sports events.”
The Abu Dhabi Sports Channel has a footprint across the MENA region but the AFC rights are for the UAE only.
It is an important acquisition for the UAE and will increase distribution to a national audience at a time when the country’s national team and club sides are competing for World Cup qualification and in the later stages of the Champions League.
AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “Football fans in the United Arab Emirates share an undeniable passion for the game and this partnership with Abu Dhabi Media will ensure unprecedented access to the AFC’s world-class competitions. We thank Abu Dhabi Media for the confidence they have shown in the future of Asian football by entering into this agreement.”
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