Australia's Nine Network is "engaged in an eleventh-hour scramble to sell advertising" around the London Games, as the network's "losses on the world event mount in the face of persistently weak advertising markets," according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. The free-to-air network was staring at a loss of up to $30M, but estimates from media buyers and networks said that Nine "could now be facing a $40M write-off." Nine is selling late packages to media agencies and advertisers in prime-time viewing blocks, a "highly unusual pattern" at this stage of the Olympics cycle. Up against a "weak, short advertising market" that is showing no sign of recovery and is also being felt by rival free-to-air networks Seven and Ten. A leading media buyer said, "A lot of effort went into getting the sponsors on board, expecting the market to be there for the spot stuff. But it's just not there." Aegis Media Pacific Exec Chair Harold Mitchell predicted strong ratings for Nine, which is sharing coverage with pay-TV operator Foxtel, but added that "positive market sentiment from advertisers was absent" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/25).
ESPN and DFL, the commercial arm of the German Bundesliga, have agreed to a three-year deal for live coverage of the Bundesliga to remain on ESPN in the U.K. and Ireland. The agreement includes exclusive rights to live TV coverage, plus rights to the German Super Cup, promotion and relegation matches, a weekly preview and highlights program, as well as rights for content across video-on-demand, online and mobile platforms. ESPN will televise up to four matches per week -- all in HD. In addition, ESPN will provide U.K. fans with the latest news, information, analysis and exclusive video on ESPN.co.uk and ESPNFC.com (ESPN).
CRICKET APP ONLINE: GULF NEWS reported that its online publication, GulfNews.com, has introduced its own cricket app "Gulf News Cricket Tracker." The app is a "one-stop destination" for those looking for ball-by-ball score updates, commentary, teams, players' statistics and tournament standings of any int'l cricket action across the world along with the Indian Premier League. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (GULF NEWS, 7/23).
FIRST SERVE: Int'l media rights company MP & Silva has secured a worldwide rights distribution deal through '20 with the Delray Beach Int'l Tennis Championships ATP World Tour 250 Series event. The package offers a minimum of 25 matches every year: Seven singles matches, including four early-round matches, two semifinals and the final, as well as one doubles semifinal and doubles final (MP & Silva).