BPL Extends U.S. Media Rights Auction Another Week

Oct. 26 Now Deadline for Second-Round Bids

And the winner of the U.S. media rights to the next cycle of England's Barclays Premier League is...unknown at this juncture.

Sources familiar with the negotiations indicate that the Football Association Premier League Limited has extended the auction process for another week. Interested parties must now submit a revised bid by Oct. 26, according to sources.

After receiving tender documents for a new cycle spanning the 2013-14 through the 2015-16 campaigns, U.S. programmers had until Oct. 18 to signify their financial interest in the property, which generated bids from incumbent Fox Sports Media Group, in conjunction with ESPN, and NBC Sports Group.  

Although most observers believe beIN Sport is in the hunt for what amounts to 380 matches per season, it remained unclear at press time if the Al Jazeera Sports-backed enterprise -- which launched Stateside soccer-centric English- and Spanish-language networks in mid-August -- entered an initial offer. 

The current U.S. contract expires with the close of the 2012-13 season. Fox Sports Media Group is the rights-holder in the States, and airs matches on Fox Soccer, premium service Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes and occasionally on Fox Broadcasting. ESPN currently sublicenses a package of matches from Fox.

NBC Sports Group is looking to bolster its portfolio, particularly for national cable service, NBC Sports Network. However, the company recently secured U.S. rights to Formula 1 auto circuit, which could conflict with the BPL's Saturday and Sunday morning windows. 

For its part, BeIN already has secured rights to top futbol circuits in Spain, France and Italy and a BPL deal would rub against its current schedule.

Representatives for the networks declined comment or could not be reached by press time.

Similarly, IMG, the global sports and media company, had yet to respond to queries about whether it had entered the fray as a means to subsequently forge sublicensing deals with U.S. network players.