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Volume 6 No. 213


Australia's Nine network has hit back at claims from Seven network CEO Don Voelte that its billion-dollar National Rugby League deal is "too costly and will harm its ability to invest in new programming," according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. Nine exec David Hurley said, “It’s the standard lament from the mob that went toe-to-toe and dollar-for-dollar but were simply outflanked in the end.” Voelte said that the deal could cost Nine $42M a year, adding that he and Seven Chair Kerry Stokes believed the $1B agreement was "too costly and would harm Nine's ability to invest in programming." Voelte said, "I've got to tell you, yesterday Kerry and I and the other directors all sat around and said, 'We don't feel bad; we feel good.' We're feeling OK about this. No regrets whatsoever." Hurley, however, said that Voelte’s numbers were wrong. Hurley: “The figure Voelte has pulled out of his abacus is obviously a result of his looking down wrong end of his telescope. It’s nothing more than self-serving rewriting of very recent history” (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/23). In Sydney, Steve Mascord wrote that the NRL "has earned a similar figure from its TV rights -- after all -- as Australian Football. While everyone is fighting over their share of the case "like Boxing Day Sales maniacs, it's important not to forget what the AFL have spent their money on." As ABC broadcaster Clint Wheeldon pointed out on Twitter, the AFL "used its TV windfall to promote further national expansion while rugby league excapted having to expand nationally in order to get the money it was after" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/23).

Qatar Media’s beIN Sports has acquired the U.S. TV rights to all away U.S. men's national football qualifying matches in the CONCACAF region, "starting with the game in Kingston, Jamaica, on Sept. 7," according to Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES. To date, beIN is available to the "combined 34 million subscribers to the satellite channels DirecTV and Dish Network." USSF President Sunil Gulati in an e-mail said, "We don’t control the rights for our away matches but have talked with beIN Sport and know that they have an aggressive plan to expand distribution over the weeks and months to come. Obviously, we’d like as wide a distribution in the U.S. as possible for our WCQ matches." Bell noted USSF's deal with beIN "also includes a return match at Antigua and Barbuda on Oct. 12." CONCACAF "sold the rights to the United States' away games to Traffic, the Brazil-based company that also owns the North American Soccer League." In turn, Traffic "has sold the remaining U.S. away matches" to beIN Sports (N.Y. TIMES, 8/22).

CONCACAF announced that Fútbol de Primera (FDP) will be the exclusive Spanish-language radio broadcaster in the U.S. for the '13 and '15 editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, bringing the tournament to millions across the nation. FDP, which has carried the Gold Cup since '07, will transmit the competition on its more than 100-affiliated stations (40 of which are on the FM dial) across the country. Gold Cup broadcasts will be anchored by legendary announcer Andrés Cantor, who will lead the play-by-play coverage throughout the tournament (CONCACAF).

Scottish Football Association CEO Stewart Regan said that the SFA "could rake in a £60M ($95M) TV jackpot" when UEFA sells the rights to Scotland games from '14, according to Ewing Grahame of THE SUN. The current four-year broadcast deal covering internationals and Scottish Cup ties expires then, "with UEFA ready to start selling Europe-wide telly rights for all countries." The rights to the Scotland games "could yield" a yearly sum of £15M ($24M). The bonus for the SFA would be that it could "sell Scottish Cup rights on their own to boost income streams" (THE SUN, 8/23). The SFA "could increase their income by several million" by selling the rights to Scotland friendlies and William Hill Scottish Cup ties. Regan said: “The greatest opportunity as far as revenue is concerned is the discussion ongoing with UEFA to try to secure income for our international matches from 2014 to 2018." He added, "That would give our game a substantial multi-million pound boost. All 53 member nations have given UEFA a mandate to negotiate centrally for the sale of TV rights across Europe" (DAILY RECORD, 8/23).

British Channel 4 is "not expecting to bring in more ad revenue" than it would normally take during the time period of the Paralympics, according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. Channel 4 is regarding the venture instead as a chance to promote its brand and burnish its public service broadcasting remit." Channel 4 Sales Dir Jonathan Allan said that his sales team has been "selling Paralympic packages to the advertisers," but the underlying expectation when the TV rights deal was done was for a "commercially neutral" end result. Media buying agency sources claimed that the Paralympics "has not seen exceptional demand from advertisers seeking to buy special TV packages offered by Channel 4 for the event." Allen said, "I can't find anyone in the industry who has rushed to buy specific Paralympic packages beyond sponsors. No one is saying 'get me the Paralympics.' It will not be a massive success from a financial point of view." The big question is what the Paralympics "will deliver in terms of the audience scale and type, and what that means for Channel 4 heading into the TV trading season later this year" (GUARDIAN, 8/23).

ONLINE SUCCESS: In London, Josh Halliday wrote that the Olympics "helped traditional newspaper websites to a bumper month in July," with the Daily Telegraph and Independent enjoying the biggest online readership boosts. With only five days of the Olympics falling inside July at the end of the month, newspapers "can look forward to an even bigger traffic boost when the August figures come out." topped 50 million average monthly browsers in July, up 13.59% on the previous month. reported a 21.42% rise in daily users, to 741,995, compared with the previous month (GUARDIAN, 8/23).

ESPN Int'l will present coverage every day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Games will take place Aug. 29 to Sept. 9, and air on ESPN throughout the Caribbean and Spanish-speaking Latin America. It will be the first time that the Paralympic Games have been televised on ESPN Int'l. During the 12 days of the event, two daily one-hour shows dedicated to the Paralympic Games will air on ESPN3 in prime time, and be re-aired on ESPN throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean. The event will also air on, ESPN’s broadband platform, in 15 markets throughout the region, including Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. In addition, highlights of the competition will be featured on SportsCenter, on ESPN2 in Latin America at 10pm and 1am and on ESPN at 11pm and 3am. All times are EST (ESPN Int'l).

The Indian Cricket Board has asked its sponsors "to withdraw a controversial advertisement that shows its' stars, including Sachin Tendulkar, recreating funeral scenes," according to Peter Lalor of THE AUSTRALIAN. In the commercial, Tendulkar, "clad in the white robes of mourning," appears carrying a funeral urn around a table as a family eats dinner. Yuvraj Singh, who just recently returned to the team after a battle with cancer, "digs a grave in the rain in front of a frightened child." The ads are supposed to promote "a new range of Sahara Group stores, which sells 'unadulterated' products." The Board of Control for Cricket in India wrote to its major sponsor Sahara saying it believed the ad was in "bad taste" and contravened its contractual agreements. The commercials have been withdrawn from TV in India and most websites (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/23).

Bundesliga club Bayern Munich launched its official Twitter handle @FCBayern Thursday. Fans of the Bundesliga record champion took immediate advantage of the team's new communication tool, which acquired more than 14,000 followers during its first nine hours (Bayern Munich). ... The German Football League (DFL), the commercial arm of the Bundesliga and the 2nd Bundesliga, launched a new website at to increase its int'l exposure. The new website is completely in English and has its own editorial team to provide foreign readers with the latest information about Germany's top two football leagues (DFL). ... UEFA announced the award of certain '12-15 UEFA Europa League media rights in Slovenia to RTV Slovenia. Public broadcaster RTV Slovenia will broadcast each match week the best live match and a highlights program on SLO2 (UEFA).