The BBC has “retained the broadcast rights to the Olympic Games until the end of the decade, encompassing the next two winter and two summer Games,” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. The BBC's association with the Olympics “goes back to 1928, when it first broadcast its radio coverage.” It has shown “every Olympics since the Rome Games of 1960 live on television in an unbroken sequence.” Although the IOC “investigated the possibility of splitting the coverage between a free-to-air broadcaster and a pay-TV operation, as is the case in Italy, the BBC was desperate to retain its exclusivity.” After last year “cutting its sports rights budget by a fifth, the BBC renegotiated its Formula One deal to save money and now shares the rights with BSkyB.” It also has “withdrawn from horse racing and cut back on darts, tennis and snooker coverage.” But the Olympics, which the BBC “will broadcast across 26 channels from London this summer, is considered a prime vehicle to demonstrate the corporation's public service role in bringing large audiences together for major events” (GUARDIAN, 7/18). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Georg Szalai notes financial terms and other bidders “weren't disclosed, but the BBC was expected to face more competition from traditional and new media and technology players for the rights.” BBC COO Dominic Coles, who negotiated the deal, said, “It’s vital that big national and international events like the Olympic Games remain free-to-air where they can be watched by the greatest number of people" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 7/18).
THE GAME PLAN: The GUARDIAN’s Josh Halliday noted the BBC will “send 765 staff to cover the Olympic games in London,” and the amount is “an increase on the 493 people the broadcaster sent to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.” BBC Sport Head of Major Events Dave Gordon said, "I look on it as a reminder of how passionately the audience cares what the BBC does and the way we do it. We've a hard-earned reputation for doing the Olympics well." The BBC is “turning BBC1 and BBC3 into its flagship Olympics channels, with BBC1 showing wall-to-wall coverage of the games except for traditional news bulletins.” Gordon said that he was “confident the BBC would not face the kind of criticism it attracted for its coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, but admitted the broadcaster will get nervous if Team GB's medal haul did not match expectations” (GUARDIAN, 7/17).
TNT averaged a 3.1 U.S. rating and 4.98 million viewers for its six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. That rating is flat compared to last season, while the viewership is down 3% compared to 5.125 million viewers. The viewership figure marks the lowest for TNT under its current TV rights deal with NASCAR, which expires after the '14 season. TNT's best audience this season was for the Coke Zero 400 on July 7, which averaged a 3.3 rating and 5.449 million viewers. The race was also simulcast on truTV for the first time. Combining the simulcast audience with TNT's telecast, Turner wrapped its six-race schedule with a 3.2 rating and 5.094 million viewers, which would put the rating up 3%, with viewership flat.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AUDIENCE TREND ON TNT
DURING CURRENT MEDIA DEAL
'12 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES ON TNT
Quicken Loans 400
Toyota/Save Mart 350
Quaker State 400
Coke Zero 400*
Lenox Industrial Tools 301
NOTE: * = Simulcast on truTV, which averaged a 0.5 rating and 735,000 viewers.
Florida State Univ. football coach Jimbo Fisher said that he has "banned the use of Twitter for his players indefinitely," according to Williams & Reeves of WARCHANT.com. While Fisher "didn't identify a specific incident that sparked the ban, tweets earlier this month by sophomore cornerback Tyler Hunter were likely a major factor in the decision." Hunter, quoting lyrics from rapper Lil Boosie, "made reference to a line about killing cops." Fisher said, "Twitter is a privilege. When you represent an organization you have to represent it very well or we don't represent it. When we are responsible enough to deal with it, we'll deal with it (return to Twitter)." Hunter's Twitter account "has since been deleted" and Williams & Reeves noted they "couldn't find any FSU players who have tweeted since July 11." Some players "have still been active on Facebook." Fisher "declined to say how long the Twitter ban will continue but didn't totally close the door on restoring privileges at some point in the future" (WARCHANT.com, 7/17).
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said that this summer, and perhaps into the fall, "negotiations will continue on amending the SEC's TV contracts with CBS and ESPN to reflect the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri to the league." In Atlanta, Tim Tucker notes Slive "made it clear he feels the conference's expanded footprint significantly increases the value of its TV rights." Slive said, "There has been a whole lot of speculations about Project X. Is it still a secret? I don't think so, but we now call it Project SEC." He added, "Our objective long-term is to work with our television partners to provide fans with greater access to their favorite teams, more opportunities to watch rivals and more insight into who we are: a conference of 14 great universities" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 7/18).
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports SI Group Editor Terry McDonell is "expected to reveal to staffers by tomorrow that the buyout offer did not yield enough volunteers, forcing a number of involuntary cuts" to take place. McDonell's restructuring plan "aims at saving about $3 million in costs -- and a dozen people or more could lose their jobs." A source said that only "about nine people stepped forward to take a voluntary buyout package" (N.Y. POST, 7/18).
NEXT UP: In Indiana, Robert Howard noted NFLer Antwaan Randle El last Friday "officially announced his retirement." Randle El "will be working with the Big Ten Network in the fall as both a color analyst on the football field and in the studio." He also will "work on BTN's 'The Next Level' and will assist with" the Redskins preseason games as an analyst (TIMES OF NORTHWEST INDIANA, 7/14).
NEW ADDITION: Gabriele Marcotti is joining ESPN as a writer and analyst for the net's soccer coverage on TV and ESPNFC, a new multi-language, multi-country brand (ESPN). BROADCASTING & CABLE's Tim Baysinger noted Marcotti will "appear regularly on 'Press Pass,' the network's online soccer discussion show" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 7/16).