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Al Jazeera Eyes Tennis Channel

It sounds as though the Tennis Channel could become a key part of Al Jazeera’s plans to gain traction in the U.S. According to the New York Post‘s Claire Atkinson, the Qatar-backed cable news empire is looking to acquire Tennis Channel to secure a foothold in the U.S. sports TV market. Al Jazeera has BeIn Sport here in the U.S., and has been trying to become a player in the increasingly-crowded field for years.

Tennis, which is available in 34 million homes (and could go up to 50 million depending on the outcome of an FCC case), would add to its footprint tremendously. BeIn Sport is in 22 million homes.

“The Tennis Channel is in play and the Qataris are looking hard, ” said a source, referring to Al Jazeera’s deep-pocketed backers in the Gulf state.

“They are very focused on their worldwide sports empire, through Al Jazeera Americas and Paris Saint-Germain,” said a source familiar with talks.

The move is similar to one made earlier this year when Al Jazeera acquired Current TV, and is planning to relaunch it as “Al Jazeera America” this Summer.

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