Liverpool FC takes on rivals with launch of TV service

Liverpool Football Club is setting up its own television channel to compete against offerings from rival teams.

The service, LFC TV, is the first initiative to be unveiled under new American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, although insiders suggest the project has been planned for some time.

Chief executive Rick Parry says he wants LFC TV to be operational by August this year in time for the new Premiership season.

Rival clubs Chelsea and Manchester United already have their own cable and satellite-based channels, as do Glasgow teams Celtic and Rangers. Arsenal offers a TV-style service over broadband.

Full details of how the service will operate have yet to be finalised, with no decision on whether it will be funded by advertising or as a subscription service yet in sight. Insiders say it is more likely to be subscription-based, as other team TV channels are.

It is understood the deal would involve the club¹s website coming fully under the club umbrella. The site is 50% owned by former shareholder ITV. The broadcaster is expected to relinquish its interest.

Syndicated television content is produced through the website, while a three-hour television show is broadcast in 47 countries outside the UK.

Currently, TV rights are negotiated for clubs with the help of the Football Association although the growing number of television stations among top clubs may eventually lead to teams selling their TV rights separately. The current Premiership deal is worth £2.33bn over three years.

In Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona signed deals for the individual rights to games. Real¹s deal is worth £730m over seven years and Barcelona¹s £670m.

Earlier this year Premier League football club Aston Villa put all its media rights up for tender (MW March 1). This was triggered by the need to negotiate a new contract for the club¹s website, which is held by Premium TV and ends in the summer.

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