Al Jazeera charging $100 for World Cup viewing

Chris Forrester | 12-05-2010

Al Jazeera has won the exclusive rights to screen all the FIFA World Cup soccer matches from South Africa into the Middle East. It is certainly making viewers pay to watch games.

Brand new subscribers to Al Jazeera Sports will have to stump up for a six-month package costing $130 per card. Existing subscribers can view the games by buying a special card costing $100.

The $100 fee Ė or its equivalent - will be applied across all the GCC countries, which covers Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and probably Yemen. It is not yet clear what the fee will be for viewers in Egypt (where income levels are much lower) or elsewhere in North Africa or the Maghreb.

The broadcaster will reportedly offer five channels of World Cup coverage, including an English-language one.

Al Jazeera acquired the World Cup rights when it bought the rights to Arab Rado and Televisionís sports content in November 2009.