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MURDOCH EYES RIGHTS FOR WORLD CUP, BRITISH OPEN
Published April 22, 1996
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. "is about to make a multi- billion dollar bid for the world broadcasting rights for the World Cup finals in 2002 and 2006," according to FINANCIAL TIMES. The move is seen as the latest challenge to the European Broadcasting Union, which has the rights to the '98 World Cup and has been in exclusive negotiations on 2002 and 2006. But FIFA has called for other proposals, with a May 15 deadline. Other likely bidders are IMG, UFA (the TV subsidiary of Germany's Bertelsmann), and TEAM, the marketing arm of the European Football Union. Murdoch will seek to put the games on digital TV, offering non-stop coverage of all games and charging PPV for the top matches. FIFA has also abandoned its plan of selling marketing and broadcast rights under one deal. The broadcast partner now "will be required to cooperate with FIFA and its marketing partner" (Burns & Snoddy, FINANCIAL TIMES, 4/20-21 issue). FOX IN THE CLUBHOUSE: Murdoch's Sky Sports, which already has the Ryder Cup contract, is trying to secure broadcast rights to the British Open, according to GOLFWORLD. The British Open has been with the BBC since '56, but the contract expires this year. Sky Sports reaches one-eighth the audience the BBC does (GOLFWORLD, 4/19).