SBD/18/Sports Media

MURDOCH LOOKING TO MAKE MORE OF A MARK IN EUROPEAN SOCCER

          Rupert Murdoch "is poised to team with" Telecom Italia,
     a private telecommunications group, to bid $2.2B for a six-
     year pay-TV contract for Italian soccer, according to Paul
     Betts of the FINANCIAL TIMES.  Although Telecom "is ready to
     sign the agreement," Betts writes that the deal "hinges on
     negotiations with RAI, the Italian state broadcasting
     network."  Telecom and RAI were in talks last night "to try
     to agree to a partnership to launch a pay-television
     platform" to compete against Italian pay-TV network Telepiu,
     which is controlled by France's Canal Plus.  The proposal
     includes the "creation of a joint holdings company" between
     Telecom and RAI, "which in turn would control a series of
     pay-TV networks."  Murdoch "would then invest in the planned
     soccer network" and bid for the rights (FIN. TIMES, 9/18).  

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