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The world's oldest knockout cup competition "is to return to the BBC after an absence of seven years," as part of a deal for the FA Cup in which it will "share the rights with new entrant BT Sport," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The contract, which runs for four years beginning in '14-15, means that FA Cup ties "will be shared between the BBC and BT while ITV retains the rights to England's home matches." Added together, the FA's income for the FA Cup and England's home matches is "believed to be approaching the high watermark" of the £425M ($645M) paid by ITV and Setanta in '07. The FA "has periodically considered radical changes to the FA Cup format," but claimed last season that "more subtle moves," including the controversial decision to kick off the final at 5:15pm, "had helped reinvigorate it." The teatime kick-off "is likely to stay under the new deal" (GUARDIAN, 7/17). In London, Ben Rumsby reported that contract, agreed through UEFA’s new central sales strategy, "also saw BSkyB awarded an England highlights package and live rights for the other home nations and the Republic of Ireland’s live qualifying matches." Keeping the FA Cup "will be seen as crucial by BT," which also has 38 live Premier League matches but needed to buy out ESPN’s U.K. business to "secure some of its other football rights" (TELEGRAPH, 7/17).
THE DETAILS: The BBC's Phil McNulty reported BBC One "will broadcast the competition, with live streaming available across online, mobile and tablet devices." BBC Dir General Tony Hall said, "Bringing the FA Cup back to the BBC was something I really wanted to do." Details of how many games will be shown live by the BBC "have yet to be released." Radio coverage of the FA Cup "also continues on BBC Radio 5 live" until '18. Presenter Gary Lineker, who will lead the BBC presentation and "was involved in the pitch to win the rights," said, "It is terrific news. We have the European Championships, World Cup, Confederations Cup and we've got the Women's Euros 2013" (BBC, 7/17).
FAN FAVORITE: In London, Robert Budden reported research conducted by London-based research agency Brand Driver rated the FA Cup as "the second most popular competition" among U.K. sports fans, with two-thirds of those questioned saying that they "were interested in the matches." It scored "more highly than Champions League football, Wimbledon and Formula One." However, ITV has found that the FA Cup was "a less attractive asset for pulling in advertisers than some other sports coverage, according to people familiar with its bid" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/17).
FOOTBALL EVOLUTION: In L.A., Stuart Kemp reported the landscape for British football rights "continues to evolve." Rupert Murdoch's News U.K. "sealed a deal to make it the exclusive place for online and mobile clips of all FA Cup and some other games soon after the matches end." The company previously struck a deal for EPL games across its digital platforms for tabloid The Sun, the Times of London and the Sunday Times. News U.K. CEO Mike Darcey described the extensive clip deal as a "significant enhancement of our sports offering to all our readers." Financial details weren't disclosed (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 7/17).
Man City has expanded its online presence by launching 10 new int'l websites, creating the largest multilingual website offering in football. In addition to its existing English, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese versions, Man City has now made its website available in Chinese, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai. The additional languages mean fans in 160 countries can access the website in their native language. This encompases more than 80% of the world's Internet population (Man City). In Manchester, Mike Keegan reported Man City can now connect with 1.5 billion people globally. Man City has also "launched a Mandarin version of its online store." The club has "teamed up with" third-party online payment platform Alipay, China’s equivalent of PayPal, as it tries to "cash in on the lucrative Asian market." Officials said that the move "will make the Blues the most accessible outfit on the planet" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 7/17).
Sky Sports' "sparring with new rivals BT continues with David Beckham lined-up to front a new kids TV show starting next month," according to Matt Lawless of the London DAILY MAIL. The program, hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist Darren Campbell and Di Dougherty, kicks off on the opening day of the new Premier League season and is called "Game Changers." It "will be screened free-to-air for the first week" just hours before BT Sport -- whose slogan is "Game Changing" -- launches its live Premier League coverage with Liverpool vs. Stoke at Anfield. Beckham said, "It’s an ambition of mine to inspire more young people to get active and take part in sport. I’m excited to be one of a great group of athletes contributing to Game Changers and working with Sky who have the passion to make it happen." Heptathlon Gold Medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill "will also lend her expertise to the show," which promotes grassroots sport, and train youngsters in heptathlon events (DAILY MAIL, 7/17).
The goal of the new online start-up CLUBSPO11.DE is to financially and materially support the close to 170,000 German youth and amateur football clubs. The founders of the website want to help football clubs acquiring new financial sources and offer potential sponsors the opportunity to accurately pinpoint teams that they want to support through shirt or board sponsorships. Clubs and potential sponsors can sign up free-of-charge at CLUBSPO11.DE and in the case of clubs, precisely describe what they need, while companies can find clubs that would suit their investment strategies (CLUBSPO11.DE).
German pay-TV channel Sky will live broadcast up to 11 hours daily from the world's oldest golf tournament, the Open Championship. Sky will start its live broadcast at 10am on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, the pay-TV network will show the event live from 11am, and Sunday's final-round broadcast will start at noon (Sky Deutschland). ... Telemundo will broadcast a Liga MX match-up between León and Atlante on "Fútbol Estelar" at 9pm EST (Telemundo).