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New Premier League Soccer seals TV rights deal

International sports media company MP & Silva has acquired the global broadcast rights to the first season of India's franchise-based Premier League Soccer (PLS) tournament.

The new league will be broadcast in 'at least' 50 countries during its opening season, Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of the Kolkata-based Celebrity Management Group (CMG) which is organising the PLS, told Indiantelevision.com.

Financial details of the TV rights deal have not been disclosed, however, it will reportedly operate on a minimum guarantee and revenue sharing basis.

CMG is also said to be in talks with three broadcasters for the South Asia broadcast rights to the new football league.

Household names such as Italy's World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavro; ex-Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler; former France and Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires; Argentian striker Hernan Crespo; and Nigerian 'Jay Jay' Okocha are all set to play in the PLS.

The US and Europe, which are home to large Indian expatriate populations, are reportedly key target markets for the venture.

The Indian Football Association, which governs football in the state of West Bengal, has agreed for CMG to run PLS for 30 years.

The group expects the total sale of commercial rights to amount to between US$5 million and $6 million, according to Goswami. This includes both the broadcast rights and sponsorship deals.

Managers lined up for the PLS franchises include: Peter Reid (England), John Barnes (England), Samson Siasia (Nigeria), Marco Etcheverry (Bolivia), Colin Todd (England), Teitur Thodarson (Iceland), Fernando Couto (Portugal) and Milos Rus (Slovakia).

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