The total pay of the BBC's handful of on-screen million-pound earners "has dropped by a third" to just short of £10M ($15.6M) in the last financial year, according to Dan Sabbagh of the London GUARDIAN. Broadcasters such as Graham Norton and Jeremy Paxman "are among those understood to be taking pay cuts" during the period. The BBC is expected to reveal on Monday that the amount it pays "top talent," earning £1M ($1.6M) or more, has dropped to £9.7M ($15M) in the year to March '12. A cut to Norton's pay would leave sports broadcaster Gary Lineker as the BBC's "highest earner." The former England striker turned Match of the Day host earns an estimated £2M ($3.1M) a year, but he is "under pressure to cut his pay when his contract comes up" next year after fellow pundit Alan Hansen had a third slashed from his annual salary of £1.5M ($2.3M) in February (GUARDIAN, 7/13).
FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi "denies having spoken" to a Hungarian newspaper which published "supposed declarations" from the Argentine, according to Aquiles Furlone of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. Kepes Sport published its latest edition with Messi on the cover and an article with "supposed declarations" from him. One of the alleged declarations said that Messi was so introverted as a child, that teammate Cesc Fabregas thought "he was a mute." According to Messi, however, the interview never actually took place even though it was "reproduced on Saturday around the world" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/15). Argentinian agency TELAM reported that Messi contacted them because he "wanted to deny the interview ever happened." He also told Telam that his "family reserves the rights to take the appropriate legal action" (TELAM, 7/15).
Infront Sports & Media has secured media rights agreements with broadcast partners for a new series of magazine programs covering the World Triathlon Corp.'s Ironman and Ironman 70.3 endurance triathlon series. Many of the Ironman races will be available to fans on TV in more than 100 countries and territories. The agreements cover European, Asian and American territories including the U.K. (BskyB and Channel 4), Germany (Sport1), Austria (ORF), Scandinavia and Baltics (Viasat, Nelonen and TV2 Norway for selected territories), Czech Republic (Sport1), China (Guangdong TV), Brazil (ESPN Brazil) and the U.S. (Universal Sports) (Infront Sports & Media).