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SBD/Issue 192/Sports MediaPrint All
ESPN Has Agreed To Pay Estimated $408M
For Setanta's Former EPL Games
INT'L EXPANSION: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Garrahan & Fenton write ESPN's acquisition of Setanta's EPL rights "ranks as its biggest international move yet." But having "inherited the reduction" to 23 games that "undermined the Setanta business model, ESPN faces the same prospect of disappointing its audience." An analyst said, "This surely indicates that ESPN are playing a long game, looking to be in UK football well beyond the end of this deal in 2013." Garrahan & Fenton note while BSkyB will be "cautious of the threat posed by a company backed by Disney, a giant that dwarfs even [News Corp.], it could have been worse." Enders Analysis analyst Toby Syfret: "Sky will be quite happy, because ESPN look like they are looking for a partnership with them, acting as wholesalers to Sky, rather than taking over as the dominant force" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/24).
Setanta's Administration Leaves PGA
Tour Without A TV Outlet In U.K.
TIME TO MOVE ON: In Manchester, Owen Gibson reports the Scottish Premier League is "believed to be close" to signing a $149.1M deal with Sky, a cut of $58M from its current deal with Setanta. Meanwhile, England's Football Association (FA) has a "clause in its contract that obliges ITV to pick up the rights to England's home friendlies" at a little over $3.3M per game. ITV yesterday said that it "would be 'very pleased' to take up the option, with insiders arguing that they would represent a bargain at that price." However, re-selling Setanta's portion of the FA Cup deal "may be more difficult, as ITV has first pick of the matches." Gibson notes other affected rights holders "have been scornful" of the EPL's stance regarding Setanta, "believing it pushed Setanta into administration when a way forward for the company could still have been found if a rescue bid had been allowed more time to complete." The EPL's decision, while "typically self motivated," is "supported by others who believe the Setanta business model was fundamentally flawed and it was only a matter of time before it unravelled" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 6/24).
MLBAM, YES Network and Cablevision will begin local in-market streaming of live Yankees games on July 8, marking the operational beginning of a historic agreement that advances beyond several years of fruitless pursuit on the issue. The in-market games, available to Cablevision customers who also receive the company's Optimum Online Internet service, will be sold for either $49.95 for the rest of the season or $19.95 for a 30-day period. The product will be limited to the Yankees' defined home broadcasting territory, working in an inverse fashion as the out-of-market packages sold both online and for TV. But with Cablevision TV and Internet service not universally available throughout the Yankees' territory, the effective reach of the new product at the outset will be less. "This is a landmark agreement in that it respects our partners' core business models while enhancing their new business prospects," said YES President & CEO Tracy Dolgin. MLBAM intends to announce a second in-market streaming product next week.
David Hill Says FoxSports.com Needs
More Innovation, More Forward Thinking
MAJOR RENOVATIONS: Hill, who plans to "target men at work," would like to "slot promotional spots on each of the Fox Sports TV telecasts to alert viewers of the online programming and drive them to the site." Hill said that he "hopes to also beef up the fantasy sports area and 'down the road' wants to offer more video coverage of sports at every level." The entire site redesign and inclusion of new video content "could take up to a year to be fully implemented." Fox Sports Interactive Senior VP/Operations Jeff Husvar said that the new site will "roll out beginning in September." Husvar also said the goal from the technical side is to "make the site easier to navigate." Sources said that while the "revamp of the site and its content production will primarily be done in-house, Fox is expected to invest several million dollars in the project" (ADWEEK, 6/22 issue).
The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sarah McBride reports Arbitron yesterday indicated that it will "use its Portable People Meter radio-audience measurement device to track TV viewership, vaulting it onto Nielsen Co.'s turf." Arbitron in monitoring viewership "aims to offer more details about who watches various TV shows," and the idea is to use their meters to "track people's TV viewing in bars and other locations outside the home." McBride notes filling advertisers' demands for "as much information as possible on their target customers has become increasingly important for media companies as more ad spending moves online" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/24).
SHOWING ON THE BOXEE: Boxee, a start-up developer of open-source software for consuming online video content via a TV set, last night disclosed it has formed a partnership with MLBAM to provide MLB.TV’s premium-level service through its platform. Users will still need to have a subscription with MLBAM for the video package as they ordinarily would, but the pact creates another distribution and marketing partner for baseball’s interactive arm and allows the online customers to view the out-of-market games on a larger screen. Boxee has gained some industry buzz for creating software that, using a computer connected to a TV, aggregates online video sites into a single platform and allows users to make selections using a remote control (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
Kornheiser Wants To
Do Local Radio
GOING VIRAL: The NBA has surpassed 1 million fans on its official Facebook page, more than triple the number at the start of the '08-09 season. The NBA's Facebook page is the most popular of any sports league on the social networking site, a ranking it also holds on Twitter and YouTube (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).