Fox Sports World Nets English Premier League Fare

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Fox Sports World staked its claim as “America’s Soccer Channel” last week, renewing its North American rights agreement for the FA Premier League of England through the 2007 season.

Fox hopes soccer’s growing popularity will help efforts to break beyond the 20-million subscriber mark.

The agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, calls for Fox Sports World to telecast as many as 195 matches per season over the next three years, including 12 to 18 live Saturday late-afternoon matches, said Fox Sports World and Fox Sports en Español senior vice president and general manager David Sternberg. Fox Sports World will also develop a weekly preview and review show around its Premier League telecasts.

As part of the pact, Fox Sports en Español will also carry numerous contests in Spanish.

Sternberg said Fox Sports will still offer pay-per-view Premier telecasts in conjunction with its schedule of televised games.

Separately, Fox Sports World has gained exclusive North American rights to England’s FA Cup through 2008.

Also included in the agreement are telecast rights to the English national side’s home qualifying matches for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the season-opening Community Shield match and the Euro 2008 championship qualifiers.