UK guarantees English soccer TV sale to Abu Dhabi's rulers

The accord, which is in its first year, is worth around $100m a season
UK guarantees English soccer TV sale to Abu Dhabi's rulers
PREMIER LEAGUE: The league requires guarantees from all its broadcast rights holders (Getty Images)
By Bloomberg
Sun 21 Nov 2010 10:42 AM

The UK government is guaranteeing part of a contract sold to the rulers of Abu Dhabi to broadcast
Premier League soccer matches in the Middle East and North Africa.

Barclays, banker to the
world’s richest domestic soccer competition, sought cover from the country’s
Export Credits Guarantee Department before agreeing to underwrite a three-
season television contract with Abu Dhabi Media Co.

The accord, which is in its first year, is worth around $100m a
season.

The government department,
which acts as a state-backed insurer for exporters, guaranteed $100.55m to
Barclays “to support its confirmation of a letter of credit relating to the
supply of television coverage of Premier League football for the next three
seasons,” according to its annual review.

The league requires
guarantees from all its broadcast rights holders. It declined to comment on its
contract with Abu Dhabi
Media Co. The UK government agency doesn’t guarantee any of the league’s other
agreements.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed
Al Nahyan, son of a former emir of Abu Dhabi, has spent more than 300 million-pound ($480m) on
players since completing the 210 million-pound acquisition of Manchester City
in September 2008. A month later, the member of the ruling family bought 1.3
billion shares in Barclays, which is the main sponsor for the Premier League.
He made a 1.46 billion pounds profit when he sold the stock seven months later.

The Premier League started
a record 3 billion-pound television contract in August. That deal was boosted
by overseas rights selling for about 1 billion pounds, which is 65 percent
higher than under the previous three-season contract.

“The Premier League has
never used us before,” said Steve Roberts-Mee, a spokesman for the Export
Credits Guarantee Department. “Our mainstream stuff is oil and gas, aerospace
and defense. We don’t do football every day.”

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