Indonesian soccer fans can now get their fix of English Premier League soccer matches that kick off Saturday, with a local free-to-air TV station securing broadcast rights.
This season marks major progress from last year, when the broadcast rights were held exclusively by a pay-TV company.
The holder of the right to broadcast the EPL in Asia and the Pacific, ESPN Star Sports (ESS), recently confirmed it had sold the package of English Premier League/Barclays Premier League matches to tvOne, while other packages were still being negotiated with a pay-TV firm.
"ESS is pleased to announce that tvOne will again be featuring a package of Barclays Premier League matches on free-to-air television for the BPL 2009/2010 season," ESS senior VP Andrew Marshall told The Jakarta Post by email.
"ESS is still working on arrangements for the pay-TV rights. Our primary concern has always been to ensure that fans' enjoyment of the Barclays Premier League remains uninterrupted and we will continue to focus our efforts in ensuring that."
Pay-TV firm PT Indonusa Telemedia said last week it was in the process of acquiring non-exclusive rights to air EPL matches from ESS.
"This is not a bidding was like last year, when the ESS offered the rights exclusively to a single broadcaster," said PT Indonusa Telemedia chief director Rahadi Arsyad.
"We're not negotiating the price or the exclusiveness of the rights, so much as the payment mechanism, because we have several broadcast platforms, such as cable, satellite and Internet protocol TV. We can't say much about the negotiations, but we'll most likely acquire the rights."
TV7 (now Trans7) first secured EPL broadcast rights in 2002 in a one-season package worth Rp 12 billion (US$1,200,000).
"The contract value has increased 20 percent every year," said soccer observer Anton Sanjoyo. "Two years ago, pay-TV operator Astro reportedly signed a $50 million contract for one season."
Of this season's contract, tvOne's Antariksawan Yusuf said, "Obviously the contract value is higher than last year's, but it's worth it because we get two live matches a week."